Women's Eye Health And Safety Month: Can Menopause Affect Eye Health?

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Women's Eye Health And Safety Month: Can Menopause Affect Eye Health?

During pre-menopause and menopause, women experience hormonal fluctuations. These hormone changes can cause vision alterations and can increase your risk of developing eye conditions or require a change in prescription. The average age of the onset of menopause in Canadian women is 51.5, right around the same time that the risk of developing eye conditions increases. The chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts all increase around age 55. This can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish which conditions develop due to menopause and which conditions develop due to age.

Common Eye Conditions During Menopause

Dry Eyes
Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) has been linked to menopause, with more women presenting dry eye symptoms than their same-aged male counterparts. After menopause, some women report new dry eye symptoms, such as:

  • A stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation in the eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in the eyes
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with night-time driving
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

DES symptoms can be treated using artificial tears, medicated eye drops, steroid eye drops, punctal plugs, and repeated use of a warm compress.

This condition is a clouding of the crystalline lens that leads to limited vision. While this condition is not confirmed to be directly linked to menopause, it does occur at higher rates in women in menopause than it does in men of the same age. Cataracts typically do not begin to present until about age 60 and the condition develops gradually and painlessly over time. Unlike some other eye conditions, cataracts can impair vision while not affecting eye health and can be removed with surgery so that vision can be restored.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD leads to an eventual loss of central vision as a part of the retina, called the macula, becomes damaged by deposits of fat and proteins, called drusen. Age is a large factor in the risk of developing this condition and it typically begins around age 50. Because this eye condition tends to develop around the same time many women experience menopause and because it is more likely to develop in women than in men (⅔ of people with AMD are women and only ⅓ are men,) it has a correlational relationship with menopause without knowing if that is a risk factor.

This condition is not thought to be directly linked to menopause, but it does often develop in the post-menopausal period in people aged 60 and older. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve, often due to high pressure within the eye. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are ways to detect it early and either slow or stop its progression, which can save vision.

Calgary Adult Eye Exams At Specs In The City

As women age and their bodies undergo changes both from menopause and as a result of aging, it is important that know what eye conditions they are at risk of developing. Being aware of this can encourage women to regularly get their eyes examined to prevent the progression of a variety of eye diseases. It is always important to get your eyes examined, but especially when the body is undergoing changes in hormones that can affect the eyes and when you are around age 60. Check your eye health with an eye exam at least once a year at Specs in the City in Calgary. To book an adult eye exam with one of our expert eye doctors, contact Specs in the City at 1-403-252-2020 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: How long does a comprehensive eye exam take?
A: Your appointment will take less than an hour depending on which tests your eye doctor performs.

Q: Does Alberta health cover eye exams?
A: If you are 18 and under or 65 and over, the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) provides coverage for annual eye exams. AHCIP will also cover any emergency eye services. For those not covered by AHCIP, Specs in the City offers affordable eye exams. Seeing your eye doctor regularly can save you money by catching problems before they become serious and require more extensive medical treatments.

Q: Is there a cure for AMD?
A: There is not, which is why it is so important to visit your optometrist for early detection of AMD to halt its progression.

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