The Menopause & Dry Eyes

30th September 2022

Dry Eyes

During menopause, hormonal changes in female bodies will affect their health in a number of ways and cause uncomfortable symptoms. Around the age of 45, your female body will produce fewer reproductive hormones like oestrogen and progesterone. There are some well-known symptoms that can occur during menopause such as hot flashes, sleep problems and mood changes, as well as lesser-known ones including dry eyes. While having dry eyes isn’t necessarily indicative of a severe eye condition, it can cause discomfort, soreness, and pain.

What causes dry eyes during menopause?

People aged 50 and above are generally said to be more at risk of dry eyes due to naturally decreasing tear production, regardless of gender identification. However, menopausal people tend to be more prone to it. This is leading researchers to believe that hormonal changes during menopause especially the decrease in reproductive hormones are contributing factors.

Researchers assume that low estrogen and androgen levels are largely responsible for this issue. Especially androgen seems to play a vital role in a female’s tear production during and after menopause. Androgen is a sex hormone that people of all genders have, whereas female bodies have lower levels to begin with. Tears are made up of a mixture of water, lipids and oils. A reduction in androgen can negatively affect the glands in your eyelids responsible for producing said oils, causing tears to evaporate quicker and subsequently leading to dried out and inflamed eyes.

According to some researchers, dry eyes are also associated with a decrease in oestrogen levels. That’s why intensified symptoms of dry eyes can also be experienced during their / your monthly cycle or while taking birth control medication.

Dry eyes can be caused or worsened by a few different factors, which makes it difficult to pin down just one cause. While the decrease in hormones during menopause causes dry eyes, this might be intensified by other risk factors. Environmental triggers such as cold air and wind, air-conditioning or allergies can increase discomfort. Spending a lot of time in front of a screen working or generally using digital devices a lot as well as wearing contact lenses for a long period of time will further strain your eyes.


If you are suffering from dry eyes, you might be faced with symptoms like soreness, burning sensations or itchiness. Your eyes might be unusually watery or red, which can cause considerable discomfort, particularly for people wearing contact lenses. Uncommon but not unheard of are symptoms such as light sensitivity and, in severe cases, temporary blurred vision.



Since dry eyes can be caused and worsened by a multitude of factors, treatment varies from case to case.

Hormone replacement therapy:

Now you might be wondering if hormone replacement therapy could possibly help with dry eyes. Unfortunately, the answer is unclear. While some studies have shown it does help with dry eyes, more prevalent research suggests that it actually has the opposite effect and more likely increases the risk and severity of the problem. Studies have shown that dry eye symptoms became more severe, the longer women took hormone replacements.

Over-the-counter medications:

There are multiple options to choose from, namely eye drops and lubricating ointments and gels. While they usually alleviate symptoms, there are a few things you should keep in mind before and while using these products. Eye drops with preservatives shouldn’t be used too much otherwise, they’ll further irritate your eyes. The ones without preservatives are generally safe to use a couple of times a day. When you’re using lubricating gels, don’t forget that the long-lasting coating they provide might temporarily cloud your vision.

Dry Eyes

Prescription medications:

Depending on your condition, your doctor might be able to prescribe you different types of medication. If your eyelids are inflamed due to severe eye dryness, you might need to take antibiotics. Whereas with an inflammation of the surface of the eyes, prescription eye drops will usually suffice. Another way to ease dry eyes is taking drugs that stimulate tears either as a pill, gel or eye drop. And if you’re not ready to give up your contact lenses just yet, your doctor might prescribe you special contact lenses that trap moisture and therefore protect your eyes from irritation.

Alternative options:

In order to help relieve any symptoms of dry eyes caused by menopause, there are some alternative treatments that don’t involve medication. For example, it can be helpful to limit screen time and stop wearing contact lenses. If you’re looking for a new pair of glasses, it’s worth checking out our newest arrivals, where we have recently added over 200 new frames. It’ll also be helpful to be aware of different environmental triggers, like dry weather, air-conditioning, or allergies to reduce any exposure where possible and lessen the effects of dry eyes. On top of that, a humidifier might help ease any symptoms by keeping the air in your home or office moist.

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