Most women describe the menopause transition as quite the roller-coaster ride. If you are in this time of life, you may feel great one day and fatigued or irritable the next. In addition to the well-known symptoms related to perimenopause and menopause, like mood swings and hot flashes, women may also encounter problems with their eyes. Because we don’t often talk about the ways in which changing hormones can affect the eyes, symptoms of dry eye syndrome may go untreated when they don’t have to.
The What and Why of Dry Eyes
Dry eye syndrome is more of a recurrent or chronic problem than one may imagine. If you’ve ever spent a little too long in front of your computer screen, you may have an idea of the frustrating sensations that occur when the tear film that coats the eyes loses quality. Tears cover the ocular surface not only with water but also with mucus and oil. Each aspect of tears plays a part in keeping the front surface of the eyes moist and comfortable.
When tears evaporate too quickly or are not produced well, moisture across the eye decreases. This leads to sensations such as grittiness, burning, excessive tearing, and feeling like there is something in the eye. The eyes may also appear red and vision may become blurry.
Managing Eye Health Throughout Life Changes
Research has not concluded exactly why dry eyes may occur during or after menopause. One would assume that hormones are involved, and yet studies show that hormone replacement therapy does not resolve dry eye syndrome secondary to menopause. Therefore, patients and doctors are forced to look for ways to manage eye health outside of the use of hormones.
Several strategies and treatments have been developed to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Some revolve around keeping tears in the eye (punctal plugs), some address blocked Meibomian glands, the structures that make tears, and other techniques involve supporting lubrication with eye drops. Patients of our Drexel Hill, PA office benefit from a dry eye treatment plan that is tailored to their unique needs. One way that Dr. Bedrossian helps patients manage dry eye is with Omega supplements from Physician Recommended Nutraceuticals. Omega fatty acids are integral to tear film production and have been shown to improve the symptoms of dry eye.