The transition through menopause can be quite the roller-coaster ride for many women. As if hot flashes and mood swings aren’t enough to contend with, women going through this change of life may also encounter symptoms such as dry eye syndrome. In fact, studies indicate that dry eye syndrome is a common problem for peri- and post-menopausal women. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though hormone replacement therapies offer much hope.
Why Your Eyes Feel Dry
Dry eye can cause a host of uncomfortable symptoms. Each person with this condition may describe something different. Some people develop general eye irritation such as itching and burning. Dry eyes may feel gritty or scratchy or they may feel severely irritated as if something is in the eye. Without sufficient tear film coverage, it is possible for vision to become blurry, for eyes to water excessively, and for them to look red. Some people develop such severe symptoms that their day is disrupted.
There are a few theories about the correlation between dry eye syndrome and hormonal changes in mid-life. Some believe that tear production is disrupted by the decrease in hormones like estrogen and testosterone. There is also a theory that the general chemical changes during menopause alter the production of a healthy tear film. Regardless of the underlying mechanism, dry eye syndrome is not something to leave unattended.
Managing Eye Health Throughout Mid-Life
Dry eye syndrome can become a chronic condition that spirals out of control if not evaluated and treated. In mild cases, where symptoms are infrequent and minor, lubricating eye drops may provide sufficient relief. However, if you find that you’re using eye drops several times a day, you may benefit from additional strategies as well as a thorough eye exam.
Our Amarillo office has been established as a Dry Eye Center of Excellence. Dr. Murrell has successfully helped patients who have not found relief from over-the-counter or other professional treatments, including plugs. Results have been achieved by addressing often-overlooked aspects of the tear film: inflammation and oil dysfunction. Treatments such as LipiFlow and EyeXpress provide relief from dry eyes without surgery or downtime.