Many of you are going to notice that your vision will worsen as you transition through menopause. Dry, tired, irritated eyes affect about 60% of menopausal women. One reason for this is due to hormonal changes in menopause that affect the composition of tears.
Vision and Menopause
Tears have two components – a watery part which lubricates and a sticky part which helps watery tears ‘stick’ to the front of the eyes. Menopausal women who suffer from dry eyes may also experience watery eyes. Although more tears are produced, they do not ‘stick’ well, leading to a dry out at the front of the eyes. There are many therapies available to assist you with relief for chronic dry eye symptoms. In addition, if you are taking estrogen for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and sweats, you will most likely see an improvement in your vision as well.
Aging brings an increased risk for several eye diseases:
- Cataracts which are clouding of the lens of the eye. This condition usually develops slowly and painlessly beginning around the age of 60. Symptoms can include glare sensitivity, cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, double vision and loss of color intensity.
- Glaucoma is another eye condition associated with aging. It represents a group of eye conditions that lead to damage of the optic nerve, usually from increased pressure in the eye. If untreated, glaucoma can result in permanent vision damage and blindness.
- Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among women over age 50. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina and the part of the eye needed for sharp, central vision, which lets us see objects that are straight ahead. A blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.
Regular eye checkups are vital to finding eye disease early when problems are easier to treat. Be sure to have your beautiful peepers evaluated every year.