WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Among the many symptoms
endured by menopausal and peri-menopausal women is dry eye, a
condition that, if left untreated, may lead to increased risk of
infection or visual impairment. However, a recent survey found that
surprisingly few women know that dry eye is a symptom of menopause.
The survey, sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research,
revealed that 62 percent of menopausal and peri-menopausal women
reported that they experience dry eye symptoms. Yet, only 16 percent
of the women experiencing dry eye symptoms knew that dry eye is
linked to menopause. The survey, conducted in March, polled 304
women in menopause and peri-menopause, the period when the hormonal
changes of menopause begin to occur.
"Dry eye isn't just a necessary evil of growing older," said
Phyllis E. Greenberger, MSW, President and CEO, Society for Women's
Health Research. "For many women, dry eye is related to the changing
hormone levels of menopause just as much as hot flashes, depression,
insomnia and vaginal dryness."
Greenberger noted that about 3.2 million women over age 50 are
affected by chronic dry eye. "But for these women, dry eye isn't
something they have to just live with; it's something that easily
can be treated."
Of the 62 percent of women experiencing dry eye symptoms, less
than 59 percent of these women had spoken to a doctor about their
dry eye. Although the majority of women surveyed had not spoken to a
physician and did not know the cause of their dry eye, nearly all
knew they had a problem. About 58 percent said they had used
over-the-counter eye drops to treat their dry eye symptoms.
"The prevalence of over-the-counter eye drop use indicates that
women are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that they should
discuss with a doctor," said Laurie Barber, MD, Professor of
Ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
"Fortunately, treatments are available. A person who uses artificial
tears three or more times a day may be a candidate for other
treatments, such as a prescription drop with cyclosporine A.
Environmental adjustments may also be necessary, and considerations
should be given to systemic medications and dietary intake. Ask your
eye doctor for more information."
The treatment options for dry eye are based not only on disease
severity, but also an evaluation of the cause of the disease. It is
now known that an inflammatory process in the eye is an important
underlying cause of dry eye. There are three main medical treatment
options: artificial tears, prescription therapies and surgery. One
of the latest therapy advances is the first prescription therapy
that increases tear production in patients with dry eye resulting
from ocular inflammation.
Nearly 40 percent of Americans regularly experience symptoms of
dry eye including blurred vision; dry, gritty, or sore eyes; and
eyes that tire easily. Women and men are encouraged to visit
www.FocusOnDryEye.com to take a free Dry Eye Quiz, which may be
printed and taken to an eye care professional to discuss appropriate
treatments. In addition to the Dry Eye Quiz, the Web site contains
more information about dry eye symptoms, causes, diagnosis, possible
long-term effects and treatment options.
About Dry Eye
Dry eye is one of the most common complaints seen by eye doctors,
accounting for nearly one fourth of all office visits. Caused by
insufficient tear production or excessive tear evaporation, dry eye
can be a mild, episodic feeling of discomfort associated with
certain circumstances, such as exposure to dry, hot or windy
environments; however, it can also be a chronic medical condition
that, if left untreated, may lead to increased risk of infection or
Chronic dry eye can have a significant and negative impact on a
person's quality of life, interfering with vision-related activities
including reading, professional work, computer use and night
driving. Studies confirm that many patients make significant changes
to their daily lives to manage their symptoms. A recent survey
showed that people with moderate to severe dry eye experience as
much impact from their disease as those who suffer from moderate to
severe chest pain.
Dry eye is a growing public health issue. The risk of dry eye
increases with age, so the number of people affected will increase
in coming years, as the population ages.
About the Survey
The survey polled 304 women between the ages of 45 and 57
nationwide to determine the extent of awareness of dry eye as a
symptom of menopause. The survey was fielded using the International
Communications Research (ICR) telephone omnibus survey of adults age
18 and over. ICR, headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania, is one of
the nation's leading market and opinion research firms. The survey
had a margin of error of + or - 5.62% percent and was conducted
under an unrestricted grant from Allergan, Inc.
About Society for Women's Health Research
The Society for Women's Health Research is the nation's only
non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health of
all women through research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1990,
the Society brought to national attention the need for the
appropriate inclusion of women in major medical research studies and
the need for more information about conditions affecting women
disproportionately, predominately, or differently than men. The
Society advocates increased funding for research on women's health;
encourages the study of sex differences that may affect the
prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease; promotes the
inclusion of women in medical research studies; and informs women,
providers, policy makers and media about contemporary women's health
issues. Visit the Society's Web site at
for more information.
Source: Society for Women's Health Research