The menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline. These changing levels of hormones have many effects on the body and everyday life, including hot flushes, exhaustion, weight gain and concentration loss. They can also affect your eyes and vision. Reduced levels of androgens may affect tear production. Your lens also loses elasticity making it hard to focus on things like menus and phone screens as well as you used to. This is known as presbyopia and you may need to consider using reading glasses.
You may find that your eyes feel dry, ‘scratchy’ and light-sensitive, or there is increased watering or tearing. Your contact lenses may also become less comfortable. This is a condition known as dry eye and can be helped by using lubricating eye drops, which help to relieve the symptoms. Ask your optometrist for advice on using lubricating eye drops.
Many women experiencing menopause undertake hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Rather than help reduce dry eye, HRT may worsen symptoms. Tell your optometrist if you are experiencing symptoms of menopause or are taking hormone replacements so that they can recommend the most appropriate treatment and care.
If you wear contact lenses, you may find that they become uncomfortable, your optometrist will be able to advise on different types or brands to try.