Menopause & Dry Eyes

Did you know that about 61 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes -- but only 16 percent of them realize that menopause is to blame? This according to the Society for Women's Health Research. If you are experiencing menopause and dry eye symptoms you may be left asking, what can you do about it?

First of all, we must correctly identify the symptoms of dry eyes: consistent dryness, blurred vision that fluctuates, light sensitivity, burning and a gritty sensation are the main symptoms to look out for. Excess tearing is also a symptom of dry eyes. People often confuse this with not having dry eyes, but the body is actually trying to compensate from the lack of moisture by producing more tears.

Once we've identified the symptoms and diagnosed dry eyes, we can discuss ways to manage the symptoms. Luckily there are several options for  finding relief and minimizing symptoms. Below we discuss a few options.

1. Preservative free artificial tear supplements. You want to choose a preservative free supplement in order to minimize your exposure to preservatives since you will be using the drops 2-3x per day.

2. The 20/20/20 rule. When working on the computer or reading, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Computer use and reading decrease your blink rate and the surface of your eye dries out faster than normal.

3. Add a humidifier near your desk at work and near your bed at home. Sometimes your eyelids may not close all the way while sleeping and the exposed surface will dry out faster. A humidifier helps to keep your eyes moist throughout the night.

4. If you are a contact lens-wearer, decrease your wear time in your contact lenses. Your days of over-wearing your contact lenses are over...If you want to stay a happy, comfortable wearer, take out lenses earlier and wear your glasses. Give your eyes more of a break!

5. See your eye care professional for prescription eye drop options. Restasis is the only eye drop available on the market that stimulates your body to produce its own tears.

6. Improving your diet. Increase your intake of salmon, tuna, walnuts and flaxseed. They are all great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. You may also take an Omega-3 supplement.

If you are suffering from dry eyes and think it may be related to menopause, make an appointment with us and we'll help you navigate your options.