Women unaware of dry eye's link to menopause, survey finds

May 1, 2006

A March survey showed that 62% of menopausal and perimenopausal women reported dry eye symptoms, yet 16% of women experiencing dry eye symptoms realized dry eye was a symptom of menopause. Of the women experiencing dry eye symptoms, less than 59% spoke to a doctor about it and about 58% used over-the-counter eye drops to treat the symptoms.

A survey showed that 62% of menopausal and perimenopausal women reported dry eye symptoms, yet only 16% of women experiencing dry eye symptoms realized dry eye was a symptom of menopause. Of the women experiencing dry eye symptoms, less than 59% spoke to a doctor about it and about 58% used over-the-counter eye drops to treat the symptoms.

Sponsored by the Society for Women's Health Research, the survey polled 304 women in menopause and perimenopause.

"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," said Phyllis E. Greenberger, MSW, president and chief executive officer of the Society for Women's Health Research.

Laurie Barber, MD, professor of ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, added, "The prevalence of over-the-counter eye drop use indicates that the women are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that they should discuss with a doctor."