Women's Eye Health And Safety Month: How Hormonal Changes in Women Affect Eye Health

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Women's Eye Health And Safety Month: How Hormonal Changes in Women Affect Eye Health

Many women experience changes in their vision as a result of hormone changes. After all, hormones are capable of influencing your mood, weight, and energy levels, so why shouldn't they impact your eyesight? The hormonal shifts associated with pre-menopause and menopause can cause nearsightedness in women. A dip in estrogen and progesterone hormones can also cause dry eyes. As we age, we expect to have some degree of vision loss, but we may not realize that hormones are a primary cause of diminishing eyesight. In honour of Women’s Eye Health And Safety Month, we will explore how hormones can affect your vision from puberty through menopause as well as how you can maintain healthy vision.

High Estrogen Levels From Puberty To Menopause

Estrogen is responsible for vision changes at several points in a woman's life. During puberty, a surge of estrogen has been linked to causing near-sightedness (objects that are far away are blurry). During menstruation, estrogen levels are elevated and women commonly complain of watery eyes as well as other vision problems. A woman’s hormone levels during pregnancy, specifically increased progesterone and estrogen, cause blurred vision and focusing problems. Birth control pills and other medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antihistamines can cause vision changes. The changes in a woman's vision and the degree to which it has changed depends on each person. 

Hormone Changes Can Cause Dry Eye

Changes in hormone levels can cause Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). This condition is caused by a lack of tear production and can be quite uncomfortable. Women who are menopausal are at an increased risk of developing dry eye, and medications such as antihistamines and antidepressants can exacerbate the condition. Dry eye is treatable with certain medications that promote an increase in tear production. Other women have found success in treating the condition with over-the-counter artificial tears that help lubricate the eye. 

How To Maintain Healthy Vision

Hormone-related vision changes during menstruation and pregnancy are usually temporary but some changes that occur during puberty and menopause can be irreversible. To keep your vision as healthy as possible, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Visit your optometrist regularly for an eye exam. Adults between the ages of 18-55 are recommended to have an eye exam performed every other year. Those 65+ are recommended to have an eye exam annually. Eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma are not symptomatic in the early stages so it is important you visit your eye doctor regularly to ensure the disease is detected early before any permanent vision loss has occurred. Also, if you notice any sudden vision changes or have pain in one or both of your eyes, book an appointment with your optometrist right away.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables as well as fish and whole grains. A nutritious diet full of vitamins A, B, C, E, omega-3 fatty acids, and other minerals and antioxidants will nourish your eyes and prevent the onset of glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration. Try to avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners as they do not help with your eye health or overall health in general. 
  • Talk to your optometrist about other supplements you can take to help improve your vision and keep it healthy for the long term. Primrose oil, flaxseed, and borage can help strengthen your vision and promote eye health. 

Comprehensive Eye Exams Calgary

Changes in hormone levels are common and typically are not a cause for concern. However, if you experience unusual and sudden vision changes, you should book a comprehensive eye exam with your optometrist so they can check the state of your eye health as well as to detect other potential health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure. 

To find out if you are at risk of a vision or eye health problem such as cataracts or to book an eye exam to check the quality of your vision, contact Sunridge Eye Clinic. Our experienced optometrists can assess your vision and develop a personal treatment plan to help you see clearly. Book a comprehensive adult or senior eye exam today by calling 1-403-280-7518 or book online.

FAQ

Q: At what age are adults at risk to start developing cataracts?
A: Individuals 40+ are the most at risk of developing cataracts. 

Q: How long is a comprehensive eye exam?
A: A comprehensive eye exam will last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the tests performed by your optometrist.

Q: Can an optometrist tell if my hormone levels are in balance during an eye exam?
A: No, they cannot. They can however detect vision changes that can be caused by hormone changes in your body and advise you to visit your general practitioner to determine if your hormone levels are in check.


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