Don’t just watch out for hot flashes and mood swings after menopause, troubles with your eyesight are possible too. Your eyesight and shape may slightly change as a result of reduced oestrogen levels, but don’t just put up with it. Express.co.uk reveals the top four eye problems women experience after menopause, according to the experts.
Dry eyes are a really common problem among menopausal women.
The North American Menopause Society explained: “After menopause, some women report chronically dry and scratchy eyes, often along with light sensitivity, blurred vision, increased tearing, or swollen or reddened eyelids—a condition called “chronic dry eye syndrome.”
“This condition can occur in climates with dry air, as well as from certain diseases (such as Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects the glands that produce your tears and saliva) and with the use of some drugs (such as allergy medications and antidepressants).”
The reason this happens is down to the mucous membranes. Menopause advisor Eileen Durward said: “Your eyes are composed of what’s called ‘mucous membranes’ and these mucous membranes are present elsewhere in your body too, such as your digestive tract, your lungs, your mouth, your bladder and your vagina.
“Unfortunately, these mucous membranes can be really affected by falling oestrogen levels, and they tend to become drier and cause a lot of discomfort.
“If you’re not producing tears to moisturise your eyes then blinking can become more uncomfortable – it can feel like you’ve got gritty eyes and, obviously, this can affect your sight as well.”
The prevalence of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) is higher in postmenopausal women than in men of the same age, according to The North American Menopause Society.
The site reads: “Luckily, studies have not found significant associations between hormone therapy, age at first period, age at menopause, or years of contraceptive use and cataracts.
“Symptoms develop slowly and painlessly and often begin after age 60.
“Visual problems include glare sensitivity, cloudy vision, difficulty seeing at night, double vision, and loss of colour intensity.”
Vision Works added: “It is unknown whether cataracts are directly related to a decrease in estrogen occurring in menopause.
“Beginning around age 60, women with cataracts may start experiencing painless symptoms like cloudy vision, sensitivity to glare, double vision, poor night vision and loss of colour intensity. These symptoms tend to worsen as time goes by.”
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Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that lead to damage to the optic nerve, usually from increased pressure in the eye.
The North American Menopause Society pointed out that this isn’t directly linked to menopause, but is “another ocular condition for which age is an independent risk factor, regardless of sex.”
The advice says: “Glaucoma can permanently damage vision and lead to blindness if untreated.
“As a midlife woman, ageing brings increased risk for several eye diseases so regular eye checkups are vital in finding eye disease early when problems are often easier to treat.
“With any serious eye condition, consulting an ophthalmologist is recommended.”
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss in older women, VisionWorks noted.
The experts said: “Symptoms of blurry central vision, blind spots and poor depth perception are due to abnormal blood vessels growing under the macula (central area of the retina) in the eye.
“This eye disease is not attributed to menopause, but can set in at the same time that menopause ensues.”