There’s more than one place menopause can make you feel high and dry! About 61 percent of peri menopausal and menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes, but only 16 percent of them realise menopause is to blame, according to the Society for Women’s Health Research.
As always, hormone imbalance is the main culprit!
“Many women going through menopause experience dry eye syndrome or exacerbation of their pre-existing symptoms,” says Dr. Sol Shaftel, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist and ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery fellow at the University of Washington. Common symptoms include dryness, light sensitivity, blurred vision, as well as burning, gritty, and sandy feelings (often called “foreign body sensation”). But don’t let watery eyes fool you! Although teary eyes look like they are anything but dry, excessive tearing may be a sign that your eyes are desperately trying to make up for a lack of moisture, according to Dr. Shaftel.
If dry, scratchy, burning eyes trouble you, you can feel (and look!) better without any invasive medical interventions. “These symptoms can often be treated effectively with simple measures leading to major improvements in quality of life,” says Dr. Shaftel, who notes that successful treatment hinges on three major strategies: increasing lubrication, decreasing tear outflow, and reducing eyelid inflammation.
Try out these five easy remedies for dry eyes:
1. Avoid Environmental Triggers
Wind, dry air, and pollutants all contribute to dried-out eyes. On windy days, wear glasses or sunglasses to help block the wind. Try a humidifier in your home if it is particularly dry, it can bring serious relief to your eyes, not to mention to your skin!
2. Try Over-the-Counter Eye Drops
Here’s a quick overview of the options: tear substitutes, which are quick-acting, but provide only temporary relief; gel drops, which are longer-acting but can blur vision; gels, which are for nighttime use and will blur vision; and preservative-free formulations for those women who are allergic to preservatives. The option that’s best for you — and how many different ones you need to employ on a given day — largely depends on just how dry and miserable your eyes are. Start with tear substitutes and work your way up. Caution: Avoid “get the red out” and “clear eye” drops as these can cause rebound redness, inflammation, and dryness if used for prolonged periods, warns Dr. Shaftel.
3. Take It Easy on Your Eyes
Blink! Being told to blink more might sound silly, but how often have you found yourself not blinking because you were enthralled in a book or a movie? When you must concentrate, lubricate your eyes. Another way to take it easy is to limit how many hours a day you wear your contact lenses.
4. Eat Right
Omega-3 fatty acids are good for more than your heart, they are also good for your eyes, says Dr. Shaftel. A 2011 study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that eating unsaturated fatty acids can effectively treat dry eyes. Eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, and/or take Omega-3 supplements, preferably Krill oil.
5. Talk to Your Doc
While you should tell your menopause specialist about any menopausal symptoms you experience, an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) who specialises in the anatomy, physiology, and diseases of the eye can help provide significant relief.