Do Hormonal Fluctuations Affect Vision?
Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 04/12/2017
Women experience hormonal changes frequently, and these changes can affect everything - including vision.
Hormones play a crucial role in the body's system in terms of healthy vision. For women, estrogen is believed to be the biggest culprit when it comes to changes in eyesight. But let's take a closer look at hormones’ effects on vision.
Puberty And Vision
As a young girl experiences rapid growth and an increase in estrogen during puberty, she may develop nearsightedness.
Menstrual Cycles And Vision
The hormones in a woman's body fluctuate during both the premenstrual and menstrual cycles. This can have an effect on her vision, causing symptoms such as watery eyes, blurred vision, and trouble focusing. These vision changes are temporary, however.
Pregnancy And Vision
A woman's body goes through many changes during pregnancy, including an increase of estrogen. Pregnancy also leads to water retention, which can slightly alter the thickness and curvature of your cornea and result in slight vision changes.
However, most vision changes during pregnancy are minor and may reverse themselves after delivery. In most cases, it's not advisable to change your glasses or contact prescriptions while you're pregnant.
Some pregnant and breastfeeding women also experience dry and irritated eyes. Along with the subtle changes in the cornea, it may be difficult to wear contacts comfortably during pregnancy.
Finally, pregnancy can bring about changes in existing eye conditions. If you have diabetic retinopathy — which damages the blood vessels in your retina — it can worsen during pregnancy, and you'll need frequent exams during this time and postpartum.
Menopause And Vision
As a woman's hormones change during menopause, she may experience vision problems, including light sensitivity, dry eye syndrome, blurred vision, and a burning or gritty feeling in the eye. Drops are often helpful in treating dry eye and irritation.
It's worth noting that men may experience vision problems as their levels of testosterone decrease when they get older as well.
Other Vision issues attributed to hormones
Hyperthyroidism, which is characterized by an increase in the hormone thyroxine, can lead to a variety of vision problems.
Diabetes, which is caused by low levels of the hormone insulin or a poor sensitivity of the cells to insulin, results in a poor blood supply to the retina and lead to vision changes or problems.
To learn more about the effects diabetes has on the eyes, download our free infographic below.