Is there a link between hormones and dry eyes?
When Shelly started Instagramming about her Peri dry eyes (boom, tish), she was inundated with fellow Peri and Menopause warriors complaining of the same issue.
But does science agree there’s a link between hormones and dry eye?
Indeed it does!
Large-scale studies done in the United States have shown that women over 50 suffer from twice as much dry eye syndrome than men aged over 50, at 7% and 4% respectively.
We don’t know what the hormonal link is exactly. Studies have correlated the amount of tear production and hormone levels, and both the oestrogen and progesterone that go missing in action during Peri and Menopause and male hormones, decline more slowly. Different studies have found different relationships. Some studies have found Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) helps dry eye, and others find it makes it worse!
The connection remains shrouded in mystery. So if you get dry eye, what should you do?
Step 1: Get checked by an optometrist. Don’t assume you have a hormonal issue. When Shelly, Darren, Daniel and I were in Israel, Daniel had severe dry eye in his left eye. He saw an optometrist as soon as we got home and it turned out to be a cancer on his cornea. That’s rare, but it’s always worth getting checked for a more sinister cause. (He’s fine by the way. Surgery, a corneal transplant and 6 months of chemo drops in the eye, and voila – he remains cancer free.) Plus, not all dry eye is the same and your optometrist can make a specific diagnosis.
Step 2: Blink! Staring at a computer screen, you don’t blink nearly as much. Have breaks from your screen and remember to blink.
Step 3: Avoid eye irritation. Dry air (a humidifier can help), rubbing your eyes, cigarette smoke and allergies all cause inflammation and make dry eyes worse. Identify your trigger and fix it.
Step 4: Eye lubricants and moisturisers. Your optometrist will recommend the right one for you.
Step 5: Increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. They mostly come from fish and seafood.
Do you have dry eyes? Let us know below, and reach out about any other odd symptoms you’re experiencing.