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Women Afflicted With Dry Eyes As They Approach Menopause

A survey sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research has found that 62 percent of menopausal and perimenopausal women suffer from dry eye.// This symptom occurs more in women than in men and is directly linked to the hormonal imbalances in menopause.

Some of the changes that occur are like burning, itching or scratchiness, of the eyes, blurred vision and sensitivity to light. The survey quizzed 304 women ages 45 to 57 and found that 86 percent were not aware that menopause caused dry eyes. "Dry eye isn't just a necessary evil of growing older. For many women, dry eye is related to the changing hormone levels of menopause just as much as hot flashes, depression, insomnia and vaginal dryness," said Phyllis E. Greenberger, the president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research. . "Dry eye impacts the quality of life, as well as the physical health, of 10 million Americans each year." This symptom should not be ignored since it causes permanent damage to the eye. "Dry eye can be caused by conditions such as lacrimal gland disease that affects tear production, or conditions that decrease corneal sensation, such as LASIK eye surgery, long-term contact lens wear and diabetes," said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gilbard, of the Harvard Medical School. He said that the best approach to treat it was to use eye drops and eat omega-3 fatty acid-rich food so as to increase the secretion of tears.

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