With age, many women are plagued by dry eyes. But did you know that more than 60% of women are affected by dry eyes during menopause? Dry eye is that disturbing condition that causes grittiness, tearing and a foreign body sensation.
Hormones play an important role in tear production and lubrication. During menopause the increased production of estrogen means less tear production. When your eyes stay dry for too long, they become red, itchy and swollen.
The most common treatment for dry eye is “artificial tears” that can temporarily relieve symptoms by restoring fluid to the eye. But in most instances, tear drops to lubricate the eyes isn’t enough. Restasis® is a twice daily eye drop that is used in conjunction with tear drops. It’s the only prescription eye drop approved by the FDA that increases tear production and decreases the inflammation associated with dry eye.
Fatty acids have been shown to naturally moderate inflammation and provide natural lubrication. A recent study reported that women with a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduced their risk of dry eye by 20% compared to women with low levels of omega-3. Omega-3’s are found in foods such as fish like tuna or salmon, or certain nuts like walnuts or in dietary supplements.
If considering LASIK, dry eye should be under control, as LASIK patients typically have an increase in dry eye symptoms during the postoperative healing period.
If you think you may have dry eye due to menopause symptoms, call your eye care professional and schedule an appointment.