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Menopause and dry eyes

The commercials show a woman dumping cold water on her face to deal with sore, irritated eyes. But ask anyone who has dealt with dry eyes and she will tell you that it is no laughing matter. The discomfort of dry eye syndrome is real and affects many women during menopause and cause concern for vision and overall eye health.

What is dry eye syndrome?
Dry eye occurs when your tear ducts do not produce enough tear fluid. This fluid keeps your eyes moist and allows for easy and comfortable opening and closing of your eyelids. Without enough tear production, your eyes become dry and very uncomfortable.

Causes of dry eye
Many women think menopause causes dry eye, usually because this is a common time to develop this condition. There are some sources that indicate fluctuating hormone levels affect a woman’s ability to produce natural tears. But dry eye is caused by a variety of conditions from eye infections, to some medications including antidepressants. Your doctor may refer you to an optometrist to determine the cause of your dry eye syndrome and to find the right treatment solution.

Dry eye symptoms
Typically dry eye symptoms include any of the following, and may be worse while watching television, working in front of computer screens, or if you live and work in dry environments:

*A scratchy feeling when you blink, as if you had sand in your eyes
*Blurred vision; feeling as though your eyes are covered in a film, making it difficult to see
*Burning sensations
*Itchy eyes
*Persistent redness of the eyeballs and eyelids from rubbing or trying to stop the discomfort
*Sensitivity to light
*Sensitivity to contact lenses

Dry eye risks
While generally an issue of comfort, if left untreated dry eye syndrome could lead to increased eye infections, vision problems, and in some severe cases permanently impaired or loss of vision. This makes it more important to receive a proper diagnosis for lasting dry eye problems that fail to respond to over the counter eye drops. If you find you have been using eye drops several times a day it is time to book an appointment.

Dry eye treatments
Some cases of dry eye are mild and require eye drops, changing eye-makeup brands, or increasing humidity levels in your home or possible the work place. As noted above, some eye drop brands may not work and you may need a prescription eye treatment. Only in the most severe cases of tear duct problems will surgery be an option.

Dry eye syndrome is inconvenient and uncomfortable but there is help to deal with this condition. You can learn more at http://www.medicinenet.com/dry_eyes/article.htm

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