Dry eye in women related to menopause
Apr 23, 2006 - 6:27:37 PM

Women suffer from dry eye more than men and the change in hormone levels due to menopause could be one reason for it, according to a new survey.

Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep the eye wet and comfortable. Its common symptoms include feelings of stinging, burning or scratchiness of the eyes.

But it can also be a chronic condition that can lead to increased risk of infection or visual impairment, reported the online edition of the New York Times. It impacts the quality of life, as well as the physical health, of 10 million Americans each year.

While 62 percent of older women experience dry eye, only 16 percent know it's linked to menopause, the new survey by the Society for Women's Health Research that polled 304 menopausal and perimenopausal women found.

Of those women who had experienced dry eye, only 59 percent had spoken to their doctor about the condition, the survey found. When it came to treatment for dry eye, 58 percent had tried over-the-counter eye drops to ease their symptoms.

Approximately 3.2 million American women over the age of 50 are affected by chronic dry eye, president of the society Phyllis E. Greenberger said. "For many women, dry eye is related to the change in hormone levels of menopause," she notes.

Since the risk of dry eye increases with age, the number of people affected will increase as the population ages. Many more women suffer from dry eye than men. In fact, dry eye is about two to three times more common in women.

Dry eye can also be caused by conditions such as lacrimal gland disease that affects tear production, or conditions that decrease corneal sensation such as lasik eye surgery, long-term contact lens wear and diabetes.

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