If dry eye bothers you, you usually don’t think it can be related to your hormones, but in fact it could be.
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body, so it’s no surprise that they can also affect the eyes.
The main ones are thyroid hormone, insulin and sex hormones such as estrogen. When you receive treatment for your hormonal problem, you will also get some relief from dry eye.
THE FEMALE FACTOR
If you are a woman, you are more likely to have dry eye, especially as you age. That’s because your levels of estrogen and other sex hormones change a lot throughout your life.
For example, she has a higher chance of getting dry eye when she goes through menopause. It is a time in life when hormone levels fluctuate up and down.
If you are pregnant, you are also more likely to have dry eye due to hormonal changes. The same goes for women who take birth control pills and also wear contact lenses.
Experts aren’t sure how changing hormones affect dry eye. Some studies show that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptoms worsens dry eye, while other studies show that it improves it.
It appears that women who take estrogen alone are more likely to have dry eye, while those who take a combination of estrogen and progesterone are less likely to have it.
Dry eye can also be improved or worsened by androgens, “male” hormones like testosterone, which are produced by both men and women.
For example, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have dry eye. The disorder causes cysts and problems with ovulation due to excess androgens.
THE THYROID FACTOR
Another hormone that can cause problems is found in the thyroid gland in the neck, which can also cause dry eye.
Menopause sees several women experiencing thyroid problems and taking medications to help. Progesterone supports thyroid function, so it is important to have good levels.
The changes may be due to an autoimmune disease related to the thyroid. The immune system, which is your body’s defense against germs, mistakenly thinks your thyroid gland is an enemy and attacks it.
For example, Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that is associated in its early stages with high thyroid levels, but over time or after treatment you may have low thyroid levels.
People who have it may have trouble closing their eyelids, do not blink often enough, and cannot keep their tear levels up. The eyes may protrude forward. All of these problems can lead to dry eye.
Hashimoto’s disease is another autoimmune disorder that causes low thyroid levels and dry eye.
DIABETES AND DRY ONES
If you have diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, there is a good chance you also have dry eye. The reason may have to do with the amount of insulin you have.
Low insulin levels make it difficult for the tear gland to produce tears, and insulin can reverse some of these problems.
Hormonal balance is essential throughout life, but if you feel like you are suffering from dry eye and eye drops aren’t working, you may need extra help.
Since both estrogen and progesterone can help, a cream combined with both hormones could be a solution. Also, what is more practical is to use a vaginal estrogen cream (Colpotrofin) 3 nights and natural progesterone cream every day with seven days off.
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