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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 out optometric team 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, Washington, D.C, Bowie, 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, out optometric team 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, Washington, D.C, and Bowie, all throughout MD.

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

How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Vision MD Eye Doctors in Glenn Dale we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Glenn Dale, Maryland. Visit Vision MD Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

My Eyes Feel Gritty. Is It Dry Eye?

something in my eyeWhen your eyes feel gritty it’s often due to an eyelash, a speck of dust, or a grain of sand getting caught in your eye. When this discomfort persists without an apparent reason, you could be experiencing dry eye.

Left untreated, dry eye isn’t just uncomfortable, but it can permanently damage your cornea. If you have dry eye, your eye doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a common problem caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye.

Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Irritation- a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive tearing
  • A feeling of something being stuck in the eye

Causes of Dry Eye

There are many things that can cause dry eye:

  • Allergies
  • Medical conditions – Dry eye is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes and several other conditions.
  • Environmental factors – Wind, smoke, and dry air can all cause your tears to evaporate.
  • Insufficient blinking – staring at a computer screen or a book for long periods of time can cause the eyes to blink less frequently.
  • Medications – Antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and decongestants can cause a reduction in tear production.
  • Ageing – As people get older they are more prone to dry eye. Women tend to be more affected than men.
  • Eyelid Conditions – Insufficient oil production from the glands in the eyelids or misshapen eyelids can lead to poor tear quality.
  • Hormonal changes

Relief from Dry Eye

As with any other form of eye discomfort, your first stop should be your eye doctor, who will thoroughly examine your eyes and eyelids to identify the underlying problem. If dry eye is suspected, your doctor may decide to assess the quality and quantity of your tears.

Depending on the exact cause of your dry eye, your doctor may prescribe artificial tears or prescription eye drops, or discuss a range of in-office procedures to address moderate to severe dry eye caused by your eyelids. Your eye doctor may also recommend wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes against irritants. Blinking more regularly, staying hydrated, and placing a humidifier in your home or office might also help.

After your initial appointment, you will want to schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure the methods you have tried are working and to prevent the progression to advanced dry eye. Advanced dry eye can cause damage to your cornea and, potentially, vision loss.


If you are experiencing eye discomfort, visit Vision MD Eye Doctors to have your eyes examined and receive effective, lasting treatment.

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

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

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

We all know that eating nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising can boost our health. So it’s no surprise that these same activities also support eye health. Research has shown that regularly consuming certain vitamins and nutrients can actually prevent or delay sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. 

Here’s a list of the best vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime. 

We invite you to consult with our eye doctor, Dr. Saya Nagori, to discuss which nutrients are most suited to your specific eye health and needs. 

Vitamins and Nutrients That Support Eye Health

*Always best to speak with your primary care doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements, and to ensure you consume the correct dosage for your body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can cause a host of eye health issues, including dry eyes and night blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Vitamins A and A1, which are essential for supporting the eye’s photoreceptors (the light-sensing cells) in the retina, can be found in foods like carrots, leafy greens, egg yolks, liver, and fish. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish can support eye health in a few ways. DHA and EPA, 2 different types of Omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to improve retinal function and visual development.  

Omega-3 supplements can also ease dry eye symptoms. A randomized controlled study found that people who consumed Omega-3 supplements experienced improved tear quality, which resulted in reduced tear evaporation and increased eye comfort.  

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the lens and retina and help filter out damaging UV rays and blue light. One study showed that individuals who had the highest levels of these nutrients in their diets had a 43% lower chance of developing macular degeneration than those who had consumed the least amount.  

Spinach, egg yolks, sweet corn, and red grapes are some of the foods that contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Vitamin C 

High amounts of vitamin C can be found in the aqueous humor of the eye, the liquid that fills the eye’s anterior chamber and supports corneal integrity. This has prompted scientists to consider this vitamin’s role in protecting eye health. 

Research suggests that regularly taking vitamin C (along with other essential vitamins and minerals) can lower the risk of developing cataracts, and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

While vitamin C appears to support eye health in a variety of ways, it’s still unclear whether taking this supplement benefits those who aren’t deficient. Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables, like bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, and kale. 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids from becoming oxidized. Because the retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, sufficient vitamin E intake is crucial for optimal ocular health. 

Vitamin E can be found in almonds, flaxseed oil, and sunflower seeds. 

Zinc

Healthy eyes naturally contain high levels of zinc. A zinc deficiency can cause night blindness, and thus increasing zinc intake can improve night vision. Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A, an essential antioxidant. 

Make sure to avoid taking high doses of zinc (beyond 100 mg daily) without first consulting your eye doctor. Higher doses of zinc have been associated with side effects such as reduced immune function. You can increase your zinc intake naturally by consuming more oysters, meat, and peanuts. 

Phytochemical Antioxidants

Phytochemical antioxidants are chemicals produced by plants that contain several health benefits. Some studies show that these plant-based chemicals may enhance vision and eye health as well as prevent age-related eye diseases and complications by alleviating ocular oxidative stress. Oxidative stress within the eyes contributes to several eye conditions, including  dry eye syndrome. Consuming more produce with these antioxidants can help balance the anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant system, resulting in healthier eyes. 

Personalized Eye Nutrition 

If you or someone you know is looking for ways to boost or maintain eye health, speak with our eye doctor near you about what supplements and vitamins are best for you. For an eye doctor in Glenn Dale, give us a call at 301-779-0844.