Can hormone changes affect your eyes?

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Eye Health Advisor
@AVogelUK
Ask Lucy


09 November 2018

How can hormones affect our eyes?

I’m sure we’re all too familiar with mood swings, plummeting energy levels and cravings when it comes to our period and other life events such as pregnancy and menopause. But did you know that these pivotal hormone changes can also influence your vision, as well as the general health of your eyes? As our bodies develop and mature, we can experience symptoms such as blurry vision and eye irritation as we go through stages of development from puberty all the way through to menopause. Aren’t we lucky!

Puberty

As children go through puberty, their bodies change and grow rapidly – and so do their eyes! If their eyes lengthen too much, this can cause or worsen myopia, or short-sightedness. This means that the light rays entering the eye focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina itself, which causes objects in the distance to appear blurred.1

Periods

For girls, puberty also means periods, which of course means huge changes in hormone production. Oestrogen is believed to be largely responsible for the changes in vision and eye health experienced by women during their period, pregnancy and menopause. When girls begin menstruation, the sudden increase in oestrogen is thought to be another contributing cause of myopia. But, once hormones begin to stabilise, so should their vision. 

The same goes for the first week of menstruation every month. Elevated oestrogen levels can cause blurred vision, trouble focusing and watery eyes – as if period cramps and mood swings weren’t bad enough! Hormonal contraceptives can also be a contributing factor to vision changes.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, oestrogen and progesterone will be constantly fluctuating. Around 15% of all pregnant women will experience symptoms such as blurry vision or trouble focusing, but these are usually temporary.2 Low oestrogen and high progesterone levels can cause water retention, which can have an effect on the thickness and shape of your cornea. Although this change is very small, it can result in a slight change in vision, with your glasses or contact lenses having less of an effect. However, it is always best to see your doctor if you experience changes in vision while pregnant, to make sure these changes are not caused by more serious issues. 

Changes in hormones during pregnancy can also mean that women experience dry or irritated eyes while pregnant. This can continue throughout breastfeeding, but your eyes should be less irritable afterwards. It may be uncomfortable to wear contact lenses during this time, so try not to wear them for long periods, or give A.Vogel Eye Drops a try. They are safe to use while pregnant and can actually be used when wearing contacts, unlike most eye drops. 

Menopause and vision changes

As we get older, we all experience age-related vision loss. However, during menopause, the considerable drop in oestrogen levels can have a further impact on vision for women. Lowered levels of oestrogen can lead to increased water retention and inflammation of the cornea. This can affect your vision and make it more difficult to focus on close-up objects or fine print following the menopause. If you’re concerned about your vision, try A.Vogel’s Vision Complex!

Menopause and dry eyes

Dry eyes can be characterised by red, painful eyes which can be swollen, sticky or sensitive. After the age of 50, your risk of dry eye increases regardless of your sex, however more women than men are affected in this age category.3 It’s thought that around 60% of menopausal women will experience dry eyes. This is attributed to the radical changes to sex hormones such as oestrogen and androgens that occur during menopause, impairing tear production and resulting in a higher chance of eyes becoming irritated. Dry eyes can be very painful and cause a great deal of discomfort. A.Vogel’s Extra Moisturising Eye Drops contain extra hyaluronic acid so they are a great remedy for soothing chronic dry or irritated eyes.

How to look after your eyes

Most of the vision changes which take place during puberty and menopause are irreversible. In order to maintain your vision and avoid hormone changes having a negative effect on your eyes, you should eat plenty of omega-3, zinc and vitamin C. Avoiding foods which are processed or full of artificial sweeteners can also help! A.Vogel’s Vision Complex contains nutrients which are known to be important for maintaining vision and eye health, such as beta-carotene and lutein.

 

If you find that your eyes are irritated and itchy – during pregnancy, menopause, or from wearing contacts – you can try A.Vogel’s Eye Drops. The euphrasia in this product is used traditionally as a remedy for dry, irritated eyes by preventing inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye. It will help to soothe and moisturise your dry eyes, even while wearing contacts!

 

1 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/short-sightedness/

https://www.babycenter.com/0_vision-changes-during-pregnancy_1456567.bc

http://www.jmidlifehealth.org/article.asp?issn=0976-7800;year=2017;volume=8;issue=2;spage=51;epage=54;aulast=Peck

 

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