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The Menopause and Eye Health

Hormonal fluctuations can have a significant impact on the health of your eyes.

According to the Society for Women’s Health Research, approximately 61% of menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes, but only 16 percent connect these symptoms to the hormonal changes they are experiencing.

Changes in hormone levels can affect the tear film, reducing the quantity and quality of tears, leading to drier eyes and irritation. Dry Eye Syndrome can be diagnosed by your optometrist during your regular eye examination and a range of treatment options can be discussed.

Hormone levels can also affect Intraocular pressure (IOP). Increased IOP is the most important risk factor for glaucoma. Studies show that early loss of oestrogen is associated with an increased risk of Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) in women who are susceptible. However, an NHS study found that the risk of POAG in later life is reduced in women who enter the menopause after the age of 54.

Glaucoma leads to progressive loss of peripheral vision. Again, this is a condition that is picked up during your routine eye test and your optometrist will discuss how best to manage it going forward.

Hormonal changes may also play a role in the prevalence of cataracts in post-menopausal women. Research shows this condition is higher in women of this age group than men.

Menopause-related hormonal changes can also trigger blepharitis as the oil glands in the eyelids become irritated and inflamed. Your optometrist will be able to advise on the best course of treatment going forward.

We strongly recommend an annual eye examination as early diagnosis and treatment of all of these conditions is advisable. Click here to book your next appointment.