Common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes and difficulty sleeping, are well known, but what many don’t realise is that it can also affect your eyes.
Hormonal changes can lead to eyes becoming dry and uncomfortable, which is why Specsavers is sharing its expert advice on what can be done to help make eyes feel more comfortable.
Giles Edmonds, Specsavers clinical services director says: ‘Our hormones control the production of our tears and it is common for menopausal women to experience dry eye symptoms.
‘The drop in oestrogen levels can make skin become thinner and less elastic. Mucus membranes also dry out and the lacrimal glands produce less fluids, meaning eyes can become dry. This can leave them feeling gritty and inflamed and looking red, and if left untreated it can cause infection or severe discomfort and pain.’
Mr Edmonds continues: ‘There are a couple of things that you can do to alleviate symptoms but if these don’t help, you should discuss this with your optometrist so they can advise you on the most appropriate treatment.’
Top tips for dry eyes:
Stay hydrated: It is good general health advice to keep your water bottle topped up, particularly when you are stuck indoors, the weather is particularly hot, or if you have air-conditioning, as good hydration can help avoid dry eye.
Rest your eyes: Screen time can also have an impact on dry eye so follow the 20:20:20 rule: look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue.
Take note of your diet: We’ve all heard that carrots are good for our eyes and there is some truth in it. That’s because carrots contain beta-carotene which helps us make Vitamin A – which is an essential vitamin for our eyes. It is also important to make sure we eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, including dark green leaves, as well as oily fish, which is good for your health and may support good eye health too.
Adjust your environment: The environment you are in can also have an impact on your eyes – especially air conditioning and heating. Try to add moisture back into the air by using a humidifier or placing a bowl of water underneath the radiator.
Try eye drops: When eyes are dry, they may need extra lubrication and using preservative free eye drops can help. These can be used as often as needed, depending on symptoms, and your optometrist will be able to help advise you on which drops are best for your needs.
Apply an eye mask: Using a heated mask on closed eyelids can help to soften and loosen any blocked oil glands that supply oil into the tears. Try this twice a day for 10 minutes and then gently massage the eyelids with clean fingers to help with oil flow.