09 Jul Have dry eyes? The cycle days they get even drier–and the hormone link behind it
I’m one of those bespectacled folks who can’t wear contact lenses because my eyes are too dry. No matter how many lubricating drops I used to keep them moist, those suckers would just pop right off my eyeball as crisp as cornflakes. But, that didn’t surprise me too much since my eyes also dry out easily on windy days, in highly air-conditioned rooms and whenever I stare unblinking at my computer too long.
If you’re like me and your eyes tend to be on the dry side, you might be interested to learn that there are certain days in your cycle when you’re more prone to dry eyes. And they may not be the days you think!
Even though plunging estrogen premenstrually can lead to vaginal dryness and drier skin, turns out it’s rising estrogen in the first half of your cycle that can worsen dry eye symptoms, with the worst discomfort starting a few days after your period and lasting through ovulation, according to a 2014 study in the journal Contact Lens & Anterior Eye. (full study)
As the researchers explain it, higher levels of estrogen reduce tear production and alter eye tissue in a way that leads to drier, more irritated eyes.
Want more comfortable eyes? Try drinking caffeine, avoiding alcohol and getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet or in supplement form, since all have been study-proven to boost lubrication. Or see your healthcare provider about other solutions that may be available.
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