Menopause Symptom Series: Dry Eyes

Menopause Symptom Series: Dry Eyes

Did you know that one of the lesser-known symptoms of menopause is dry eyes?
As people age, tear production decreases. Being older than 50 increases your risk of dry eyes.

Postmenopausal women, however, are particularly prone to dry eyes. Sex hormones like androgens and estrogen could be responsible, as they affect tear production in some way. Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism can also cause dry eyes. Deficiencies in Vitamin A and D may contribute to dry eye syndrome as well.

Other causes of dry eye include taking certain medications such as Antihistamines, Antidepressants, Anti-anxiety and panic medications, Birth Control Pills, Chemotherapy drugs, decongestants, Diuretics, Opiates, and sleeping pills.

You can decrease your risk of dry eyes by avoiding environmental triggers. Things that lead to tear evaporation include:

*dry winter air
*outdoor activities like skiing, running, and boating
*contact lenses

Some over the counter and prescribed meds could help, but these alternative ways should be considered also: 

* Limit your screen time. If you work at a computer all day, remember to take breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes, or blink repeatedly for a few seconds.

*Avoid triggers. Irritants like smoke and pollen can make your symptoms more severe, as can activities such as biking and boating.

*Try a humidifier. Keeping the air in your home or office moist may help.

*Maintain eye hygiene by washing the closed eyes with a warm, wet, and clean cloth.

*Use warm compresses on the eyes to help the glands that make tears work better.

*Eat right. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A can encourage healthy tear production. Include foods such as:

Omega-3 rich foods:

  • Chia seeds
  • Fatty fish, especially salmon, tuna, trout or halibut
  • Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds
  • Brussels sprouts, kale, parsley, and spinach
  • You may consider taking an Omega-3 supplement as well (always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation).

Potassium-rich foods:

  • Bananas
  • Sweet potatoes, Potatoes
  • White beans

*Drink lots of water to stay hydrated! The rule of thumb is half your body weight in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.

 *Avoid contact lenses. Contact lenses can make dry eyes worse. Talk to your doctor about switching to glasses or specially designed contact lenses.

*Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around the face can block wind and dry air. They can help when you’re running or biking.

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If you think you may have dry eye syndrome, consult with your eye doctor to see what the best options are for you.

Here’s to Happy Healthy Peepers!

Cheers & Love! XO