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Menopause and Dry Eye Disease (DED)

It has been identified that people over the age of 50 are at a greater risk of experiencing Dry Eye Disease.1 Postmenopausal women, however, are particularly prone to dry eyes, this is because sex hormones such as androgens and oestrogen affect tear production. 2

Previously, it was thought that low oestrogen levels were responsible for causing dry eyes in postmenopausal women, but new investigations show that androgens play a role in this cause.2 Androgens are present in both males and females, but females present lower levels which then decreases after menopause affecting the balance of tear production causing dry eyes.2

Dry eye disease can present the following symptoms:1

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitive to light
  • Eyes more watery than normal
  • Tears drying up (tear evaporation)
  • Decreased tear production

Tips for dealing with dry eyes during menopause

  1. Eat well and stay hydrated.
    Drink lots of fluids to properly hydrate your body and eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin A to encourage healthy tear production and prevent dry eye.2
  2. Use a humidifier to prevent dry eyes.
    If you are in a dry environment for long periods of time, such as in a heated or air-conditioned room, consider using a humidifier to stop the air getting dry.1
  3. Cut down on smoking and drinking.
    Do not smoke or drink too much alcohol as this can profoundly affect your dry eye symptoms.1
  4. Take regular breaks from digital activity to relieve itchy eyes.
    Take regular breaks to rest your eyes from digital screens can prevent dry eyes.1 One technique in ensuring this is the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can also compliment this by doing eye exercises.
  5. Wear your glasses if you have irritated eyes.
    If you’re a contact lens wearer, you may find it beneficial to wear your glasses to give your eyes a rest.1
  6. Blink!
    As we stare at screens, our blink rate is reduced. Blinking lubricates the eye and thickens the lipid layer of our tear film, reforming the tear layer and reducing dry eye symptoms.3
  7. Use a lubricating eye drop to relieve dry eye symptoms.
    Use an eye drop.4 Eye drops can provide lubrication to the eye to relieve dry eye sensations. To find out more about dry eye drops and their benefits, visit www.visufarma.co.uk

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References

  1. NHS Dry Eyes https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dry-eyes/ last accessed March 2021
  2. Menopause and Dry Eyes: What’s the Link? https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-and-dry-eyes last accessed March 2021
  3. Evinger, C. et al. Dry Eye, Blinking, and Blepharospasm. Mov Disord. 2002; 17(Suppl 2): S75–S78
  4. Centre of Ocular Research and Education https://core.uwaterloo.ca/news/core-alerts-practitioners-to-mask-associated-dry-eye-made/ last accessed March 2021
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