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IMS Menopause Live

Dry eye disease symptoms and quality of life in peri- and postmenopausal women

14 February 2022

Summary

The dry eye disease (DED) is a tear production disorder caused by a variety of factors, with dry eyes as the main symptom, and accompanied by binocular itching, foreign body sensation, burning sensation, or photophobia, blurred vision, and other manifestations. Severe symptoms of the DED can mainly affect the patient's visual function, resulting in decreased daily activities and poorer quality of life. Recently, Garcia-Alfaro et al [1] published the results of an observational study which was performed in a group of 1,947 peri- and postmenopausal women. It was found that the prevalence of dry eye symptoms was high in both peri- and postmenopausal women, and the prevalence of dry eye symptoms and Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores were higher in postmenopausal women than in perimenopausal ones. The severity of DED symptoms increased with age and decreased with postponement of age at menopause. These findings suggest that menopausal status may be associated with the prevalence and severity of DED symptoms in women. During the menopausal transition and postmenopausal period, hormone levels change, and estrogen and androgen synthesis are reduced, which can cause lacrimal gland and meibomian gland dysfunction, which leads to tear deficiency, tear lipid deficiency, and changes in the kerato-conjunctiva, resulting in the higher prevalence of DED symptoms. Considering that female sex is an important risk factor for eye dryness, the objective data provided by the OSDI questionnaire and ocular examination supports early diagnosis of DED in peri- and postmenopausal women. Menopausal hormone therapy or other related treatments should be given opportunely, thus the DED can be successfully managed, and female quality of life be improved.

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