Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about five eye problems that you could experience during the menopause.
How can menopause affect your eyes?
The problem here is that, as we approach the menopause, we're also approaching middle age as well and there can be slight eye deterioration generally. So, sometimes, it can be a little bit difficult to differentiate between what's part of the aging process and what's happening in the menopause. But, there are one or two eye issues that can appear in the menopause, so I'm just going to run through some of these.
Basically, what's happening is as we approach the menopause and go into the menopause, is our oestrogen levels start to fall. This can affect both our eyesight and the physical aspect of our eyes as well.
1. Changes in eyesight and eye pressure
So, number one is that the pressure in your eyes can change and that can affect your eyesight generally, which can cause it to deteriorate.
You might find that you have to squint a little bit more when you read, or you might find when you're driving you can't see so far into the distance. If you already get your eyes tested, then you’ll know that one of the tests you get is for your eye pressure. Normally, they determine this by exposing your eyes to puffs of air.
2. Changes in eye shape
Your eyes can change shape. This might sound a bit horrible, but it can be very, very slight; however, for those of you that wear contact lenses, you might suddenly realise that they feel really uncomfortable. It’s not that you’re doing anything different, but suddenly there’s a little bit more irritation than usual.
So, again, that could be due to the menopause. If this is the case, then you really need to go and get tested for new contact lenses.
3. Dry eyes
It can be dry eyes – this is a really big issue during the menopause. Your eyes are composed of what’s called ‘mucous membranes’. These mucous membranes are present elsewhere in your body too, such as your digestive tract, your lungs, your mouth, your bladder and your vagina. Unfortunately, these mucous membranes can be really affected by falling oestrogen levels.
They tend to become drier, which can cause a lot of discomfort. If you’re not producing tears to moisturise your eyes then blinking can become more uncomfortable. It can feel like you’ve got gritty eyes and, obviously, this can affect your sight as well.
4. Watery eyes
On the other hand, you can end up with very watery eyes. If you’re in the peri-menopause, for example, your oestrogen levels are going to be fluctuating. This can affect your periods – they can become heavier or a little bit closer together – and for some reason, it can also impact some women’s eyes.
Here, in Scotland, the weather can change at the drop of a hat. It can suddenly get very windy, very cold or even very sunny. When this happens, my eyes start streaming and this can be very annoying as it makes it appear as though I’m walking down the street crying. In fact, it’s just that my eyes are producing extra tears to keep themselves protected from the harsh conditions.
5. Tired eyes
You can have tired eyes. This is common if you’re doing a lot of work on computers, or spend a lot of time in front of screens. Your eyes can become really, really tired, which can cause problems with focus. You might find that your eyes take that little bit longer to focus from close up to far distances.
Other eye conditions to be aware of
There are also some other eye conditions to watch out for too. These can include glaucoma, cataracts and something called age-related macular degeneration. These are some really serious eye conditions so we wouldn’t recommend treating them at home with herbal remedies or over-the-counter medicines.
Instead, you would need to get these diagnosed by your doctor or optician. So, if any of you are sitting there wondering why I’m not mentioning them, then it’s just the fact that these are out-with our remit.
How to take care of your eyes during menopause
So, how can you take care of your eyes in the peri-menopause and the menopause?
Get regular eye tests
The most important thing here is to get regular eye check-ups, even if you’ve never needed them before. In the UK, if you go and get an eye test, they do quite a comprehensive one. So, it's not just a case of looking into your eyes and testing which lenses suit you.
They will take pictures right inside your eye. They will take the pressure of the eye. They will check the range of your eye movement. You’ll get a really good, comprehensive eye test so it’s really worth doing just to have a standard check-up.
For those of you that already wear glasses, you might find that your eyesight will change a lot quicker than it has done in the past. If you get any of the above mentioned symptoms, then you just ask for an extra eye test in between the usual two-year gap.
Balance your hormones
For those of you that are suffering from low oestrogen symptoms as well, you could look at our Menopause Support remedy. This is known to very gently raise and balance low oestrogen levels.
Sea Buckthorn Oil
You can look at sea buckthorn, this is a great one for eye dryness. There are quite a number of ladies in our main offices who swear by this one. It really helps them to cope with all the long hours in front of their computer.
You could try:
Pharma Nord Omega 7 Sea Buckthorn Oil capsules
Rich in natural antioxidants, the berry of sea buckthorn has for hundreds of years been valued and used as a source of nutrients. Working synergistically, the nutrients in sea buckthorn oil support general wellbeing and can help maintain the health and integrity of cell membranes, especially in mucous membranes of the urogenital system.
Suitable for vegetarian and vegan, it is recommended to take two capsules twice a day with food and drink during the first two months, one capsule twice a day thereafter.
Support your eyes
We also do a lovely eye support supplement called ‘Vision Complex’. This is what's called a FoodState one, so it contains extracts of foods and flowers that are high in compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin. These are compounds which are known to help to stabilise and support the eyes, so it's a nice one if you just want to do some support work for your eyesight over the next couple of years.
If your eyes are really dry and gritty, you could try our dry Eye Drops. These are great because they're vegan and there are absolutely no preservatives in them. They are also suitable for those of you who wear contact lenses on a daily basis.
You can make sure that you're getting enough Omega-3 oils in your diet. That would be things like your oily fish, or if you're vegetarian or vegan, then look at things like your flaxseed oil or take a supplement if you want.
Eat brightly coloured foods
It's the brightly coloured foods that have compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin in them, as well as vitamin A. So, look at your carrots, look at your beetroots, look at all these lovely, great foods like bell peppers, tomatoes, and so on.
We also do a lovely fermented purple carrot juice which sounds a bit strange, but again, it's another one that you can take on a daily basis just to get that little bit of extra vitamin A into your system.
Look at zinc as well. Zinc's really important for eye health, so you'll be looking at something like a 15 milligrams zinc supplement on a daily basis as well.
And last, but by no means least, it’s water. Remember that we get extra dehydrated in the peri-menopause and the menopause. Dehydration will affect your eyes, especially if you're getting dry eyes, plus it can also affect the pressure in your eye as well. So, drinking that 1.5 litres of plain water a day can be beneficial for our eyesight, too.
Hopefully this was an interesting topic for you. A lot of you, especially if you're in the peri-menopause, can prepare and support your eye health even before any changes start to occur. If any of you have any lovely tips or supplements that you've used to help your eyesight, then please do let us know. We'd love you to share that with us.