Hormones and Dry Eye: What Is the Connection?
By Walter Choate on February 28, 2018
You may be out and about and doing just fine, but if you're struck by a case of dry eye, you could wind up feeling extremely uncomfortable and unable to enjoy yourself. The irritation and burning sensation of the eyes can be maddening. Lubricating eye drops can help relieve dry eye, but relief tends to be best when the root cause of the problem is treated.
The team at our Nashville, TN eye care center has helped countless patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome. Let’s take a moment to consider how hormones can lead to issues with dry eye.
Can My Hormones Contribute to Dry Eye?
Yes, though the severity of dry eye can vary from individual to individual. Hormones are chemicals that send messages to different parts of the body. It’s no surprise, then, that these chemicals could potentially impact the eyes.
The most common hormones that lead to dry eye issues include:
- Sex hormones such as estrogen
- Thyroid hormones
Let’s consider a few of these matters individually.
Dry Eye and the Menstrual Cycle
Since sex hormones can contribute to dry eye symptoms, you should be surprised that a woman’s monthly cycle can lead to dry eye symptoms at certain points of her cycle. This may not lead to full-blown dry eye syndrome, but just a temporary heightened tendency for mild dry eye symptoms.
Pregnancy and Dry Eye
Pregnancy drastically changes a woman's hormones, which leads to a whole host of issues, including greater risk of gum disease and dry eye. After having a baby, a woman’s hormones return to normal levels, which usually means that the bouts of dry eye are only temporary.
Menopause and Dry Eye
Studies have found that women over the age of 50 are around 70 percent more likely to suffer from dry eye than men of the same age group. Menopause is the primary reason why. Carrying lubricating eye drops and considering hormone therapy can help alleviate dry eye and other symptoms associated with menopause.
Thyroid Hormone and Dry Eye
Thyroid problems that throw off hormones can also contribute to dry eye. In some cases, these thyroid problems are related to autoimmune diseases (e.g., Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease) that affect the thyroid gland.
Insulin and Dry Eye
Low levels of insulin can make it difficult for the lacrimal gland to produce tears, resulting in dry eye symptoms. It’s not surprising that people who suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes often suffer from dry eye and other vision problems.
Do I Need Professional Treatment for Dry Eye?
In most cases, getting treatment for the hormone issue is the ideal solution to your problems. This will take care of the dry eye as well as improve overall wellness. That said, we would be more than happy to discuss methods of dry eye management and prevention in greater detail during a consultation.
Contact the Team at Choate Eye Associates
If you suffer from dry eye and would like more information on how to address the issues you may be facing, be sure to contact our vision specialists today. The team at Choate Eye Associates will discuss the nature of your problem and develop a customer treatment plan just for you.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient