Menopause and your eyes: common myths busted

MYTH #1: Menopause doesn’t affect your eyes 

Menopause can affect your sightin a number of ways. Age alone is a risk factor for many sight changes (for example, most of us over the age of 40 will start to need reading glasses). But there are two that we know are closely linked with menopause in particular; dry eyes and Cataracts. 

Primarily and most common is dry eyes. At least 61% of women experience dry eyes as one of the symptoms of menopause. Dry eyes is also often one of the first symptoms, even experienced in peri-menopause. Dry eyes encompass everything from a low-level discomfort, redness, itching and over-watering of the eyes especially in windy or bright conditions, but can certainly include blurred vision and even loss of vision if left untreated. 

Cataracts, when the middle lens of the eye becomes cloudy, usually through age-related changes, have been found to be accelerated in menopausal women compared with men. Cataracts are very treatable but can cause vision deterioration, blurring, glare around lights, colour vision changes and reduced night vision. Luckily, both dry eyes and Cataracts can be treated in most cases, especially if they're identified early on. 

MYTH #2: Menopause symptoms last four years on average 

The amount of time Menopause symptoms lastis extremely dependent on the demographic that has been sampled. Both ethnicity and socioeconomic group play a huge role, to name just two factors that make it problematic to use averages when it comes to menopause. 

For example, one study conducted by The University of Washington showed that Native American women reported experiencing hot flashes for much longer than their Caucasian counterparts. 

Even one of the longest-standing studies into menopause, the US SWAN study (which has been ongoing since 1996) found that there was a huge difference in the symptoms even between US women. For example, Caucasian women reported symptoms lasting around 6.5 years compared with women of Latina heritage for whom the symptoms lasted almost 9 years. 

The scientific literature shows that both the type of menopausal symptoms and the duration of those symptoms are quite different depending on ethnicity and socio-economic group. 



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