Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men

Dry eye disproportionately affects women, and they are diagnosed at a younger age and have more extreme symptoms compared to men.

Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men in Hixson

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

While dry eye (also known as dry eye syndrome) is an increasingly common ailment, especially among people aged 50 and up, women are observed to suffer from it more often than men. The obvious question, of course, is why.

Hormonal Changes

Women’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout their lives, for a number of reasons. These hormonal changes have been shown to make dry eye more likely, as the fluctuations of estrogen, progesterone, and testosteron, along with other hormones, impact tear production and quality. In particular, high estrogen levels and low testosterone levels contribute to dry eye syndrome.

In particular, some things which impact hormones are likely to also impact dry eye symptoms:

  • Monthly cycle: Estrogen levels are at their highest point during the first half of womens’ monthly cycle. Because of this, dry eye symptoms may be more severe during the days soon after menstruation.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to dry eye, among other vision changes. Additionally, in early pregnancy, morning sickness and vomiting can cause dehydration, which also affects the moisture levels in the eyes.
  • Oral contraceptives: Dry eyes are a well known side effect of many oral contraceptives. This is because they lower the body’s androgen levels, which may negatively impact both the quality and quantity of tears produced.
  • Menopause: Menopause causes many hormonal changes in the body, and is therefore a very common cause of dry eyes in women over the age of 50. In fact, approximately 61 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eyes.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: Approximately 38 percent of post-menopausal women in the United States use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage their menopausal symptoms. HRT is strongly linked to dry eye syndrome.
Hormonal Changes
Makeup

Makeup

Women who regularly wear eye makeup such as mascara or eyeliner, have a higher risk of developing dry eye. This is due to the ingredients found in these products which can irritate the eyes. Additionally, makeup removers often contain oils and chemicals which can thin the tear film covering the eyes, which causes tears to evaporate early.

 

Makeup

How Can Women Reduce Their Risk of Dry Eye?

While women remain at higher risk for developing dry eye, there are some things they can do to reduce that risk:

  • Remove eye makeup using a gentle soap or a paraben-free makeup remover.
  • If you use a hairdryer, try to avoid aiming it toward the eyes, as that can cause tears to evaporate.
  • Avoid applying eye makeup to the inner parts of the eyelid
  • Always discuss eye health history and potential side effects with your primary caregiver before you start on any medication.
  • Drink plenty of water to remain well-hydrated.
  • Use lubricating eye drops to relieve dryness when necessary.
  • Use a humidifier in your home or workplace to reduce dryness in the air.
  • Wear protective eyewear, such as sunglasses, while outdoors to protect the eyes from irritants like wind and dust.
  • Eat foods rich in Omega-3s or take Omega-3 supplements to improve tear quality.

Common Questions

Yes, typically older females going through menopause are more prone to having dry eyes than others. Also people taking certain medications such as anxiety medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, anti-muscle spasm medications, Accutane, beta blockers, contraceptives, as well as certain diuretic medications, are more prone to have dry eyes. Also people who are contact lens wearers who don’t properly take care of their contacts or are wearing contacts with low oxygen permeability may be more prone to dry eyes. Additionally, people who tend to work on a digital screen for a prolonged period of time can increase their risk of dry eyes.
Yes, when we perform tasks that require high visual concentration, such as staring at a computer screen, reading, or writing for a prolonged period of time, this results in us blinking less, causing dry eyes. Additionally, some other everyday activities that can cause dry eyes are using a hair dryer, not drinking enough water, sitting in front of the office air-conditioner or fan, wearing eye makeup, working in extreme temperatures, wind blowing in your face, or being surrounded by cigarette smoke.
Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men
Dr. McBryar cartoon

Contact Us

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, contact us at (423) 710 3965 to schedule an appointment. The sooner dry eye is addressed, the easier it is to effectively treat. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.

Testimonials


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!


Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!


Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!


Alice M.
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