Eye Problems And Menopause: Two Signs An Optometrist Appointment Is On Your Horizon

18 January 2016
 Categories: , Articles


Hot flushes, weight gain and mood swings are all symptoms of menopause that women hope will not strike them. As you age, however, you may not be aware that certain eye conditions can present themselves when menopause time begins to creep around. The body goes through a significant amount of change during the menopause years, and you must be aware of variations in your vision so you can seek the advice of your optometrist when the need arises. Right now is as good a time as any to educate yourself about two eye conditions that can present themselves as your body begins its final change.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can be a frustrating eye condition, particularly if you are a contact lens wearer. If your eyes feel itchy or scratchy no matter what environment you are in or what you are doing, you can probably pin the blame on menopause.

Dry eyes during menopause are caused by your fluctuating hormone levels. During menopause, your estrogen levels start to decrease, and this chemical reduction interrupts the stability of the tear production that keeps your eyes moist. When your eyes are dry for too long because there aren't enough tears to keep them lubricated, then they become inflamed. It is this inflammation that makes your eyes feel dry, itchy and swollen.

Dry eyes can be treated a number of ways. These include the daily use of eye drops, including more omega-3 fish oils in your diet, and reducing the amount of time you spend looking at computer screens. However, it is important you visit your optometrist to discuss your dry eye condition so you can be positive it relates to your menopausal changes and not to a medical condition that includes dry eyes as one of its symptoms.

Presbyopia Eye Condition

If you have started to experience blurred vision while you are reading a book or playing games on your tablet, then you may be in the early stages of a presbyopia eye condition. Unlike dry eye, presbyopia is age-related rather than hormone related.

As you get older, the proteins within the lens of your eye changes, and this means you get less flexibility within the eye. This makes it harder for the eye to alter its focus when you are changing from looking at something far away to looking at an object up close, such as your book. This leads to the blurred vision you are experiencing, and it is a situation you need to discuss with your optometrist.

Glasses or contact lenses are options you can use so that presbyopia can be corrected and you can continue with your favourite up close hobbies without getting a headache. If you choose glasses, then you can either elect to get a pair of bifocals which allows you to easily see objects close and far away without taking your glasses off, or you can choose to get a pair of reading glasses that you only wear when you want to read or use your tablet. This decision boils down to a convenience factor for the wearer.

Surgery is another option for presbyopia; however, this is not recommended if you are battling dry eye as well. The reduction in tears will make your eyes very uncomfortable after the surgery is done, and that could prolong the healing process.

No one ever said that getting older was easy, and menopause is just another challenge to be faced as you move into the next stage of your life. See your optometrist regularly to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable, so your vision is one less thing you need to worry about as the birthdays tick by.