One of the most common eye conditions is dry eyes, and this medical condition can occur because of several reasons. One of these reasons is a change in your hormones, with the culprits being the thyroid, insulin, and sex hormones. In addition, this medical condition occurs when the eyes have inadequate tears. Within this context, ‘inadequacy’ may either be a lack of quality in tears or a lack of quantity. This may lead to a certain instability in tear production, leading to inflammation and damage on the eyes’ surface.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Some of the signs of dry eyes you shouldn’t neglect include:
- Sensitivity to light;
- Blurred vision;
- Eye fatigue;
- A stinging or burning sensation in your eyes and;
- Mucus in or around the eyes.
Is There a Link Between Dry Eyes and Hormones?
As mentioned earlier, three hormones may be responsible for the eyes’ dryness including the sex, thyroid, and insulin hormones.
Most women are likely to experience dry eyes as they get older, and the leading cause is the drastic change in estrogen levels and other sex hormones within the female body. For instance, most women are likely to experience dry eyes during menopause due to fluctuations in the level of estrogen in the body.
Many experts are not sure how hormones cause dry eyes. For instance, while some studies have indicated that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) —used to treat the symptoms of menopause— may also treat dry eyes, other studies opine the contrary. It has also been shown that male hormones –androgens– may ease or worsen dry eyes in a person. Therefore, low androgen levels may affect the glands that coat the eyes’ surface, whether you are a woman or a man.
The thyroid hormone is produced in the neck, and changes to this hormone may also be responsible for your dry eyes. These changes may be caused by an autoimmune disease — a disease where the immune system mistakes the thyroid gland for germs and attack the glands.
Graves’ disease is one autoimmune disease that, at its early stages, is linked with high levels of thyroid glands. However, the hormonal level may drastically reduce, and this causes patients to have difficulty closing their eyelids. They also don’t blink often and can’t maintain a healthy amount of tears in their eyes.
Finally, insulin hormones may affect the eyes and cause dry eyes, especially when the person is dealing with diabetes. When dealing with type 1 or 2 diabetes, you may experience issues with the lacrimal gland producing tears.
In conclusion, there is a strong link between hormonal changes and dry eyes. For women going through menopause, the rapid fluctuations of estrogen levels may cause dry eyes for women. Although dry eyes are not restricted to women alone, androgen levels– found in both men and women– can also cause dry eyes in men.