The menopause can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience for many women, and as well as impacting their emotional health, it can also affect their physical health in several ways, including the eyes.
Specsavers optometrist, Maria McAllister, shares her top tips on how to manage eye health when going through menopause.
1. Be aware of the link between hormones and your eyes: ‘Many women are unaware that hormonal changes caused by the menopause can impact the eyes. During menopause the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian gland in the eyelids. The meibomian glands produce the essential oils for the tears, so the reduction in oil results in increased tear evaporation and drier eyes. Changing hormone levels can also affect all three layers of the tear film, reducing the quantity and quality of your tears and increasing the risk of evaporation. When you book an eye test, tell your optometrist you’re going through the menopause, so they can take this into consideration as they discuss your long-term eye health.’
2. Although it is manageable, dry eye is a chronic condition: ‘Dry eye is a long-term condition, and you need to be consistent with your treatment plan to best manage any symptoms. Additionally, studies have shown that over a quarter of patients with dry eye disease suffer with anxiety or depression. If you are struggling with the mental health impact of dry eye syndrome, speak to your family, friends or seek professional as they will be able to offer support. If left untreated, dry eyes may lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface and corneal ulcers.’
3. Actively soothe your dry eyes: ‘Did you know that six in 10 of those going through menopause can experience dry eyes?ii Hot compresses are a great way to soothe your symptoms; the warmth and moisture from the compress can help to open the glands in your eyes. To make a warm compress, soak a small towel or washcloth in hot water, squeeze out the excess and place the towel on your eyes for 5-10 minutes. You could also try dry eye drops to help provide relief. Speak to your optometrist to learn more about the different eye drop options to find the right one for you.’
4. Have regular eye tests: ‘Everyone should be having regular eye tests, at least once every two years. These can detect a range of health conditions, and ensure you are managed appropriately.’
Those unable to attend a Specsavers store unaccompanied can receive the same eye care at home via its Home Visits service.
Visit specsavers.co.uk for further eye health advice or to book an appointment.
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