Dry eyes during menopause: A symptom every woman should know about

One of the symptoms of menopause is dry eyes. Learn the causes of dry eyes during menopause and what to do about them.
Dry eyes during menopause
Know the causes of dry eyes during menopause. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 18 Oct 2023, 14:47 pm IST
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Menopause hits a woman between her mid-40s and 50s. Her body goes through a lot of changes. Pain during sex, brain fog or hot flashes are some of the symptoms of menopause that most women may experience. But there is also a link between menopause and dry eyes. It can cause irritation and a lot of discomfort. Let us tell you about the causes of dry eyes during menopause and what you can do to treat them.

What are dry eyes?

Dry eyes, also known as dry eye syndrome or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough quality tears to keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. This can lead to discomfort, irritation and potential damage to the eye’s surface, says Dr Sanjiv Gupta, Director and Senior Eye Surgeon at i Care Centre, New Delhi.

Woman with dry eyes
There is a link between dry eyes and menopause. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of dry eyes during menopause

Like every symptom of menopause, dry eye also has its causes. Some of them are:

1. Hormonal changes

There is a drop in estrogen levels during menopause and that can affect tear production, leading to dry eyes.

2. Ageing

When you grow older, it’s not just wrinkles or fine lines that you start noticing. As people age, tear production tends to decrease, making them more prone to dry eye symptoms.

3. Medications

Certain medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can reduce tear production as a side effect, exacerbating dry eye symptoms during menopause, says the expert.

4. Systemic health conditions

Health conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of dry eyes, and menopausal women may be more susceptible.

5. Environmental factors

Exposure to smoke, wind and dry or polluted air can worsen dry eye symptoms in women who are in the menopause phase.

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Symptoms of dry eyes during menopause

You will experience dryness in your eye area along with other symptoms such as:

• Burning or having stinging feeling in the eyes.
• Getting a feeling like something has gone inside in the eye.
• Excessive tearing (a reflex response to dryness)
• Blurred vision.
• Redness of the eyes.
• Sensitivity to light.
• Eye fatigue or discomfort, especially when using screens for extended periods.

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Woman with dry eyes
Stay hydrated to prevent dry eyes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Dry eyes treatment

You can try some treatment options for dry eyes during menopause. Some of them are:

• Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops
• Anti-inflammatory eye drops or medications to increase tear production
• Applying a warm compress to the eyes can help to stimulate tear glands
• Managing environmental factors and staying hydrated
• Punctal Plugs, which are really small devices that can be inserted into tear ducts to slow tear drainage and retain moisture.

Tips to prevent dry eyes during menopause

Drinking enough water is a great way to prevent dehydration, and staying hydrated with help your eyes apart from other body parts. Here are other ways to prevent dry eyes:

1. Maintain a balanced diet

Ensure you have a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins that support eye health, suggests Dr Gupta.

2. Use humidifiers

Use humidifiers in dry indoor environments so that they can add moisture to the air. That means you should use humidifiers in your office as well as home.

3. Take breaks

When using screens or reading, take regular breaks to blink and rest your eyes. Constantly looking at your computer will further lead to dry eyes.

It’s essential to consult with an eye specialist if your eyes still hurt.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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