Temperature fluctuations, changes in mood and difficulty sleeping are some of the usual symptoms associated with the menopause – but did you know it can affect your eyes too? A combination of getting older, alongside hormonal changes, can leave your eyes feeling dry or irritated. We’ll explain exactly why that is, and what you can do to combat any discomfort.
The effects of hormones
Alongside the many other physical processes hormones are responsible for, they play a significant role in stimulating tear production. As the menopause causes your body to produce fewer hormones, you may notice your eyes feeling drier.
Dry eyes are also a natural side effect of getting older as your eyes create fewer tears. As you age, your eyelids may also become less effective at spreading these tears to keep your eyes lubricated.
HRT and dry eyes
For women suffering severely with menopause symptoms, a doctor may recommend a course of HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
Much research has been conducted into its effects on eyes, with some finding HRT can alleviate dry eyes, while others suggest it could aggravate them further. If this is something you’re considering, discuss your options with a healthcare professional.
Beyond hormones, there are a number of other factors that could be making your eyes feel dry, including:
Specifically the sun, wind, air-conditioning, high altitudes and extreme hot or cold temperatures
- Close up work
Extensive periods of reading, writing, computer screen use and sewing or craft work
- Medications and conditions
Antihistamines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, diuretics, allergic conjunctivitis and Iupus
- Eye care
Laser eye surgery and contact lenses
It could be any of these triggers coupled with the menopause, or the menopause alone that may be causing your eyes to feel dry or irritated. If any of these activities or conditions feature in your lifestyle, consider following some of our tips below, or make an appointment with a healthcare professional to discuss options and adjustments.
Treating dry eyes
Fortunately, the discomfort of dry eyes can be alleviated with readily available lubricating products such as eye drops or mists. Solutions such as Vizulize Dry Eye Mist or Vizulize Intensive Dry Eye Drops provide immediate relief from symptoms of dry eyes.
Where necessary, anti-inflammatory treatments can be considered, but these should be recommended by a healthcare professional.
Change your diet
Make sure your diet features plenty of omega-3 fatty acids – studies show these can help treat dry eyes.
These fatty acids naturally occur in fish such as salmon and tuna, but also in spinach, kale and broccoli.
Take note of your blinking
When we blink, our eyelids spread moisture across the surface of the eye, helping to keep them from feeling dry. Make sure you’re blinking properly and often enough.
A gentle eyelid massage may also help relax and lubricate your eyes. With clean hands, or a cotton bud, stroke your eyelids in the direction of your lashes. For your top lids, you’ll be stroking downwards, while for your bottom lids, you’ll be stroking upwards.
Limit screen time
Studies show our blink rates reduce significantly when looking at computer or mobile screens, so be aware of how much time you’re spending in front of them and be sure to take breaks often.
Use a humidifier
Keeping the air at home or work moist can help regulate the moisture levels in your eyes, preventing your eyes from drying out too quickly.
Humidifiers are available in a range of sizes for different budgets, so if it’s an option you’re interested in there should be one that’s right for you.
It’s completely natural for your eyes to feel dry when you’re going through the menopause. It’s also a common symptom of getting older, as our eyes produce fewer tears. Try making a few lifestyle or diet changes to see whether your symptoms improve – but if dry eyes continue to impact your quality of life, make an appointment with your healthcare professional.
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