Women and Dry Eyes
The eyes produce tears, which serve an important purpose of keeping the eye lubricated, preventing infections, and ensuring proper functioning of all parts of the eye. Tears are made up of three layers of lipids, water, and mucin. When one of these components is affected due to an underlying cause, it results in a condition called dry eye. Dry eye is a situation when the tears produced in your eyes are insufficient or not functional. This causes a plethora of uncomfortable symptoms, and in rare cases, may lead to complications. Although dry eyes may happen to anyone, certain groups of people are more prone to this condition. Among them are people who work constantly at the computer, people with certain health conditions, the elderly, and women.
Women have 200% more incidence of dry eye than men.
Why Women are prone to Dry Eyes
Research has shown that dry eye is more likely to occur in people above the age of 50. And, the risks are even higher for women over the age of 45, when they are about to have their menopause. When the body prepares for menopause, there are a lot of changes in hormones. The body starts to decrease the production of reproductive hormones like estrogen and progesterone. A few symptoms of menopause like hot flashes are linked to the low production of estrogen. So, researchers in the past, assumed that decreased production of estrogen was also responsible for dry eyes. The exact manner in which hormones like androgens and estrogens influenced the production of tears was, however, unknown. Recent research, however, is indicating that the low production of androgens rather than estrogen may be a bigger reason of less or less effective tears. The production of androgens in the body are reduced after a certain age in both men and women. However, women have lower levels of androgens from the beginning. After menopausal age, these levels decrease even further. This might be causing an issue with tear production and thus, leading to dry eyes.
Women taking only estrogen are 70 percent more likely to experience Dry Eye.
Women taking estrogen and progesterone have a 30 percent increased risk of developing Dry Eye.
About 61 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women suffer from dry, itchy eyes.