Dry Eyes

Leigh_KDecember 4, 2001

Several weeks ago there was a thread on this forum discussing dry eyes in relation to menopause. I recall a suggestion (tongue in cheek I hope) that someone night ask for a prescription for estrogen in some kind of eye medication to relieve this problem.

A recent study in the JAMA (Nov 7/01) suggests that women using combined hormones have a 27% higher rate of problems with dry eyes than women who do not use these drugs. For estrogen alone the rate increased by 69% over no drugs at all. The risk increased with the length of time the drug(s) is/are used. The study involved some 25000 women over a 4 year period. It was funded by Allergan, a company which makes eye drops to treat dry eyes. The abstract is available at http://jama.ama-assn.org/

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Thanks, Leigh, for finding this paper and bringing it to our attention. I've had a chance to read the whole paper, and it looks like a solid piece of research.

The study found that serious problems with dry eyes (either 'severe symptoms' or clinically-diagnosed dry eye syndrome) occur in about 6% of older women not taking any HRT, in about 7% of women taking estrogen plus progesterone, and in about 9% of women taking estrogen without progesterone. Because the study included so many women (about 25,000), these differences are statistically significant.

But for individual women the implications are minor. Most women don't have serious problems with dry eyes, whether they take HRT or not. If you are one of the minority that do, and are not taking HRT, taking HRT won't make the problem better, and taking estrogen alone might make it worse. If you have problems with dry eyes and are taking estrogen and progesterone, stopping HRT is unlikely to make them better, though it won't make them worse. If you have problems with dry eyes and are taking estrogen alone, adding progesterone or stopping estrogen might make them better, but it is more likely to make no difference.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   December 19, 2001 at 4:41PM
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Some place I read that Biotin helps with dry eyes. I've been taking it since being diagnosed and it has helped a lot. No more blocked glands and swollen eyes. For a while there people were trying to roll me over and flip me back into the Koi pond.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2001 at 1:51PM
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