(BPT) - When most women think of menopausal symptoms, they imagine hot flashes, moodiness and night sweats. But there's one symptom that's often forgotten when hormones begin to fluctuate - dry eye. In fact, dry eye affects 61 percent of menopausal women, according to The Huffington Post.
Dry eye is a common condition in which the tear ducts don't make enough tears for lubricating and nourishing the eye. Symptoms include eyes feeling itchy, scratchy, or stinging and burning. In some cases, it may feel as if there is a foreign particle in the eye. Another sign of dry eye is excessive tearing. This is due to, and indicative of poor tear quality.
According to an article by WomantoWoman.com, researchers know that hormones are important to eye health as studies have identified androgen (testosterone) and estrogen receptors on the cornea and on the meibomian gland. This means there is a connection between tear production and sex hormones.
While there is much more to learn about how hormones play a role in the lubrication of one's eyes, research reveals dry eyes can result from a deficiency in estrogen, progesterone or testosterone. Chemical signal disruptions can create an unstable tear film, resulting in inflammation and lead to decreased tear production and dry eye.
'Most patients believe this eye issue is just a fact of life; an unavoidable part of aging and that it's not a treatable condition. This simply isn't the case anymore, says Dr. Sean Mulqueeny, an Optometrist in St. Louis. 'There are many ways we can go about making patients' lives better. We have all kinds of options that we didn't have even five years ago.'
Many sufferers try self-medicating with the use of eye drops. This can temporarily relieve discomfort, however, over time dry eye can lead to corneal damage and increase the risk of eye infections since poorly made tears can't property protect or nourish the eye. Because of this, seeking treatment is necessary and important.
"It is very important to have this conversation with your optometrist," says Dr. Mulqueeny. 'The key for patients is to ask questions. 'Can you help me with this condition?''
According to Mulqueeny, if one suspects a medication to be the underlying cause of dry eye, make a point to discuss this with an eye care professional.
During an eye care visit, your eye care professional might discuss the fact that eye health and nutrition are related. That's why many optometrists and ophthalmologists often counsel their patients to add a fish oil or Omega-3 supplement to their diet.
Omega-3's essential fatty acids that support healthy tear production to keep eyes moisturized. But not all supplements containing fish oil or omega 3's are created equal. The omega-3 fat in plants, such as flax and walnuts, may help lower heart disease risk, but do not appear to help dry eyes as much as the omega-3s derived from fish, called DHA and EPA.
Since nutrition impacts eye health, Mulqueeny recommends an omega-3-containing supplement with additional ingredients such as EyePromise EZ Tears that is designed to soothe irritation and help one's eyes feel better faster.
A proprietary dietary supplement like EyePromise EZ Tears not only contains omega-3 fatty acids but eight other anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamins A, D3, turmeric, green tea extract and evening primrose oil. These ingredients can significantly accelerate the time it takes to feel relief.
In fact, in a recently published clinical research study, Ocular Nutrition Impact on Tear Film (ONIT), 67 patients of which 84 percent were women and 66 percent post-menopausal, EyePromise EZ Tears supplementation provided symptom improvement that began in the first week. The study also documented increased and continuing dry eye improvement over the entire eight week study period.
Take note of dry eye symptoms and proactively discuss them with an eye care professional. In addition, consume foods containing the aforementioned ingredients and supplement with a dry eye formula such as EyePromise EZ Tears to help nourish your eyes.