Menopause comes with an array of well-known symptoms, but there are also side effects of this transition period that women may not expect. According to the Society of Women’s Health Research, more than half of perimenopausal and menopausal women experience dry eyes and itching, but only 16% realized menopause was to blame.
Why does dry eye syndrome occur during menopause?
The main contributor to dry eye syndrome is the change or fluctuation of hormones in a woman’s body during perimenopause and menopause.
Ms Copeland said: “During the year of transition into menopause, you will go through a lot of hormonal changes. After menopause, your body produces fewer reproductive hormones.
“It’s the lower levels of estrogen and androgen that can cause dry eyes.”
Dry eye, when not associated with perimenopause or menopause, can be caused by wearing contact lenses for too long, insufficient blinking, allergies, or can be a sign of an eye infection.
How to relieve the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?
There are a number of ways that people with dry eye syndrome can help relieve symptoms.
Ms. Copeland recommends making some changes to your surroundings, both at work and at home.
She said, “If possible, minimize the air conditioning in the office (you might need it every now and then to avoid hot flashes) and invest in a humidifier to keep the air moist.
“If your job involves business travel, keep the air vents away from your face when in a car.
“If you are a frequent flyer, use eye drops before you get on and then when you get off the plane. Alternatively, you can avoid wearing contact lenses for the duration of the flight.
Women who spend a lot of time working in front of a computer screen should try taking breaks away from the screen.
Ms Copeland said: “While it’s impossible in the digital age to completely escape using a screen, there are small changes you can make that will make a difference to the health of your eyes.”
These include avoiding screens during your lunch break if possible and staying away from your desk.
The eye expert added, “Just looking away from your computer screen for about a minute every now and then can give your eyes a much needed break.
“And also try to rest your eyes. When you’re deeply focused on a task, you tend to blink less, even if you don’t realize it.
“If you don’t blink enough, your eyes won’t get regular hydration and moisture from your tears. As a result, your eyes will start to feel dry and itchy.
“Get into the habit of ‘resting your eyes’ by looking away and closing them on purpose, eyelids are excellent protectors with many moisturizing glands inside.
“I’m still the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and watch something 20 feet away. “
What’s the best way to treat dry eye syndrome of menopause?
According to Copeland, the treatment for dry eye begins with “artificial tears.”
She said, “Over-the-counter eye drops provide temporary relief, so I recommend you start with that.
“There are many different types, and the amount of drops needed or the length of treatment will depend on how dry and painful your eyes are.
“If the eyelids are inflamed, use a warm compress such as a microwave pouf or a ‘hot’ compress applied to the eyelids for five to 10 minutes.”
Optometrists are also able to prescribe different types of drugs, depending on the specific state of a patent.
Ms Copeland added: “There is some evidence that starting hormone replacement therapy can help relieve symptoms.
“You can also try increasing omega-3 oils in your diet by eating fatty fish. If you are vegan or vegetarian, add flaxseed oil to your meals or take omega-3 supplements.”