HEALTH SHOTS – Some symptoms of menopause are well known. But there is also a link between menopause and dry eyes. It can cause irritation and a lot of discomfort.
Dry eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough quality tears to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated.
This can lead to discomfort, irritation and potential damage to the eye’s surface, says Dr Sanjiv Gupta, Director and Senior Eye Surgeon at i Care Centre, New Delhi.
Like every symptom of menopause, dry eye also has its causes. Some of them are:
1. Hormonal changes
There is a drop in estrogen levels during menopause and that can affect tear production, leading to dry eyes.
When you grow older, it’s not just wrinkles or fine lines that you start noticing. As people age, tear production tends to decrease, making them more prone to dry eye symptoms.
Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can reduce tear production as a side effect, exacerbating dry eye symptoms during menopause, says the expert.
4. Systemic health conditions
Health conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of dry eyes, and menopausal women may be more susceptible.
5. Environmental factors
Exposure to smoke, wind and dry or polluted air can worsen dry eye symptoms in women who are in the menopause phase.
Symptoms of dry eyes during menopause
You will experience dryness in your eye area along with other symptoms such as:
• Burning or having stinging feeling in the eyes.
• Getting a feeling like something has gone inside in the eye.
• Excessive tearing (a reflex response to dryness)
• Blurred vision.
• Redness of the eyes.
• Sensitivity to light.
• Eye fatigue or discomfort, especially when using screens for extended periods.
Stay hydrated to prevent dry eyes.