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3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye

3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye 640Did you know that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome (DES)? In fact, women represent about 6 out of 10 diagnosed cases of DES worldwide. This is due to several factors, including the 3 we explain below.

If you aren’t familiar with DES, it is characterized by a chronic lack of ocular moisture. Some symptoms of DES are red, burning, itchy, watery eyes, which can range from mild to severe. Left untreated, it can damage the cornea.

Usually, DES is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality tears, but can also be precipitated by allergies, environmental factors, and certain medications. If you or anyone in your family suffers from DES, speak with Dr. Joseph Rispoli of Vision MD Eye Doctors. We can help ease any symptoms

3 Reasons Why Women Are Prone to Dry Eye Syndrome

1. Cosmetic Use

Makeup, skincare items, and hair styling products can all have drastic effects on your eyes. Women who wear makeup — especially eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner — are more likely to develop dry eye symptoms due to their sometimes irritating contents. Makeup and other cosmetics may include chemicals that, when they come in contact with the eye, can reduce the eye’s tear film and cause tears to evaporate too quickly.

Eyeliner and mascara may also block the tiny oil-secreting glands on the margins of the eyelids. Oil is an essential component of tears; it reduces eye-eyelid friction and also lessens tear evaporation.

We aren’t telling you to ditch your glam kit and go au naturel, but when you do wear makeup, make sure to give your eyes some extra TLC. Try to avoid applying makeup to the inner portion of the lash line, where it can clog your oil glands or irritate your eyes. Always thoroughly remove your eye makeup before going to sleep — sleeping with eye makeup can also lead to eye irritation and even infection.

2. Hormonal Changes

From puberty to pregnancy to menopause, women’s hormones are constantly changing. The surges and dips in estrogen can affect your eyes, especially when it comes to dry eye syndrome. Some women experience dry eyes at certain times of the month, when estrogen levels rise.

Women also produce androgens, also known as “male hormones,” which affect the quality of the tear film. Both men and women who have low androgens may suffer from DES.

Women over the age of 50 who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at a heightened risk of developing dry eye symptoms. About 4 out of 10 post-menopausal women in North America use HRT to manage symptoms of menopause. When estrogen alone is used for HRT, women increase their chances of developing DES by about 70% and 29% when estrogen and progesterone are used together, compared to women who don’t use HRT.

3. Certain Medications

Because women are more likely than men to take both prescription and over-the-counter medications, they are also more likely to experience adverse effects from those medications. Several medications can cause or exacerbate symptoms of DES. They include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Acne medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medications

DES can be uncomfortable at the very least, and debilitating at its worst. The good news is that we can help. At Vision MD Eye Doctors, we provide long-lasting relief to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome by targeting the root cause of the problem.

If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eyes, call Vision MD Eye Doctors today.

Vision MD Eye Doctors provides dry eye relief to patients from College Park, Glenn Dale, Bowie, Washington, D.C, and throughout MD.

 

Q&A:

#1: Can I treat my dry eye symptoms at home?

While there are over-the-counter options available at your local drugstore, you should seek treatment from a dry eye optometrist for the most effective and long-lasting results. Generic dry eye remedies may not target the underlying source of your specific problem.

#2: Can women with dry eye syndrome still wear eye makeup?

Women with moderate-to-severe DES may find conventional makeup irritating. Try choosing makeup that is hypoallergenic, cream-based (instead of powder), and has a low water content. Thorough makeup removal is crucial for everyone— all the more so for those suffering from DES. So make sure you remove every bit of eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara before bed.

 

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 301-235-8344

What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

Dry Eye and Menopause 640Around 61% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eye syndrome.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes.

Among these physical symptoms is dry eyes.

If you are experiencing dry eyes, Dr. Joseph Rispoli can provide an effective way to treat your symptoms.

Biological Changes That Affect Your Eyes

During menopause, the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian and lacrimal glands 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.

When these fluid- and oil-producing glands are affected, the eyelids can become inflamed, reducing tear quality and production, which leads to dry eye syndrome.

Some researchers believe that dry eye is connected to changes in estrogen levels. This could explain an increase in dry eye symptoms during certain times of a woman’s monthly cycle, or while taking birth control pills.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

  • Red eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • The feeling something is caught in your eye. Excessive tearing

How Is Hormone-Related Dry Eye Treated?

Because reduced hormones during and after menopause can cause meibomian gland dysfunction, treatment should be focused on reducing dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye treatments can include:

  • Artificial tears
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Medications that reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Punctal plugs – to reduce tear flow away from the eyes

Q&A

Are there home remedies to treat dry eye syndrome?

Yes. Here are a few things you can do at home to reduce dry eye symptoms.

  • Limit your screen time. People who work at a computer all day blink less, which harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
  • Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around your face can block dry air and wind.
  • Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
  • Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
  • Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
  • Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids.

Can dry eye syndrome damage your eyes?

Yes. Without sufficient tears, your eyes are not protected from the outside world, leading to an increased risk of eye infections. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to abrasions or inflammation on the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This can cause pain, a corneal ulcer, and long-lasting vision problems.

Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact Vision MD Eye Doctors to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief.

Vision MD Eye Doctors serves patients from College Park, Glenn Dale, Bowie, and Washington, D.C, all throughout MD.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Do You Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 301-235-8344