What Does Menopause Have to Do with My Eye Health?
Out of the least talked about health issues menopausal women may face, ocular problems are one of them. In most cases, they’re blamed on aging itself, even though the majority of cases are predominantly seen in middle-aged women versus men of the same age. So, let’s take a closer look at the link between menopause and eye health, including common problems, causes, and top solutions.
Common Eye Problems in Middle-Aged Women
Changes with eye health can start in women’s mid-40s right at the onset of perimenopause — the stage preceding menopause — and continue into postmenopause.
The most frequent problems may include the following:
- Dry eye syndrome, which is the most prevalent menopausal eye health issue, affecting up to 70% of middle-aged women; it can cause dryness, light sensitivity, increased tearing, and more
- Increased watering or tearing
- Blurry or otherwise altered vision
- Changes to eye shape, often making it uncomfortable to use contact lenses
- Glaucoma, which is a condition when the optic nerve becomes damaged; it can lead to vision loss and blindness
- Cataracts, which are cloudy areas that form on the lens of the eyes; they cause blurry or dim vision, faded colors, and double vision, among other symptoms
- Age-related macular degeneration, which is when the macula (a part of the retina) is damaged; it’s the leading cause of vision loss in older people
Causes of Menopausal Eye Problems
Since research on the relationship between eye health and menopause is still ongoing, the exact reasons why women are at a higher risk of developing ocular problems are not always clear.
What is known is that hormonal changes characteristic of menopause can affect the structure, functioning, and lubrication of various eye parts as well as ocular pressure.
For example, low estrogen levels can make the corneas of the eyes less elastic, affecting light refraction and leading to blurred vision. Androgen deficiency can affect the eyes’ oils glands, leading to dryness. Estrogen levels and menopause timing (particularly in the case of early menopause) may also affect women’s likelihood of developing glaucoma.
Aging is another important contributor to ocular problems in menopausal women. Common changes that older adults face may include not being able to see up close and having difficulty distinguishing colors, among others.
Additionally, women in general (not only those in menopause) are more likely than men to develop certain autoimmune diseases, like Graves’ disease, which may lead to eye complications.
Best Ways to Maintain Optimal Eye Health
Regular eye check-ups are the most important step towards maintaining optimal eye health. Seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis will help identify and diagnose the problem early on, track its progression over time, and tailor the best treatment.
Other useful lifestyle recommendations for menopausal women may include the following:
- Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other eyesight-beneficial nutrients
- Drinking plenty of water to ensure healthy tear production
- Taking regular breaks from phone or computer screens
- Adjusting the environment to avoid drafts, ensuring proper humidity in the room, etc.
- Wearing wraparound sunglasses to help relieve dry eye syndrome
- Ensuring proper eye hygiene and considering natural remedies, like warm compresses
Depending on the type of a condition a woman is struggling with, there are numerous over-the-counter and prescription solutions that may bring relief, ranging from artificial tears to oral tetracycline, among others. Punctual plugs may also keep moisture on the eyes’ surface for longer, alleviating dryness.
Current research has shown that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not effective for dry eye in menopausal women. In fact, it can contribute to dry eye syndrome.
To ease the effects of imbalanced hormones on the body, menopausal women can consider taking Macafem. Rich in hormone-regulating compounds, it can give the body a helping hand and relieve a wide variety of symptoms, from hot flashes and night sweats to mood swings and sleep problems.
As research continues to investigate the effects of hormonal changes on women’s ocular health, more important data will come to light. However, with the current findings, it’s already clear that the best way to supporting one’s eye health early on is through wholesome lifestyle, natural hormonal boost, and vigilant eye check-ups.
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