Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men

Dry eye disproportionately affects women, and they are diagnosed at a younger age and have more extreme symptoms compared to men.

Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men in Bellflower

Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

While dry eye (also known as dry eye syndrome) is an increasingly common ailment, especially among people aged 50 and up, women are observed to suffer from it more often than men. The obvious question, of course, is why.

Hormonal Changes

Women’s hormone levels fluctuate throughout their lives, for a number of reasons. These hormonal changes have been shown to make dry eye more likely, as the fluctuations of estrogen, progesterone, and testosteron, along with other hormones, impact tear production and quality. In particular, high estrogen levels and low testosterone levels contribute to dry eye syndrome.

In particular, some things which impact hormones are likely to also impact dry eye symptoms:

  • Monthly cycle: Estrogen levels are at their highest point during the first half of womens’ monthly cycle. Because of this, dry eye symptoms may be more severe during the days soon after menstruation.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to dry eye, among other vision changes. Additionally, in early pregnancy, morning sickness and vomiting can cause dehydration, which also affects the moisture levels in the eyes.
  • Oral contraceptives: Dry eyes are a well known side effect of many oral contraceptives. This is because they lower the body’s androgen levels, which may negatively impact both the quality and quantity of tears produced.
  • Menopause: Menopause causes many hormonal changes in the body, and is therefore a very common cause of dry eyes in women over the age of 50. In fact, approximately 61 percent of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eyes.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: Approximately 38 percent of post-menopausal women in the United States use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to manage their menopausal symptoms. HRT is strongly linked to dry eye syndrome.
Hormonal Changes


Women who regularly wear eye makeup such as mascara or eyeliner, have a higher risk of developing dry eye. This is due to the ingredients found in these products which can irritate the eyes. Additionally, makeup removers often contain oils and chemicals which can thin the tear film covering the eyes, which causes tears to evaporate early.



How Can Women Reduce Their Risk of Dry Eye?

While women remain at higher risk for developing dry eye, there are some things they can do to reduce that risk:

  • Remove eye makeup using a gentle soap or a paraben-free makeup remover.
  • If you use a hairdryer, try to avoid aiming it toward the eyes, as that can cause tears to evaporate.
  • Avoid applying eye makeup to the inner parts of the eyelid
  • Always discuss eye health history and potential side effects with your primary caregiver before you start on any medication.
  • Drink plenty of water to remain well-hydrated.
  • Use lubricating eye drops to relieve dryness when necessary.
  • Use a humidifier in your home or workplace to reduce dryness in the air.
  • Wear protective eyewear, such as sunglasses, while outdoors to protect the eyes from irritants like wind and dust.
  • Eat foods rich in Omega-3s or take Omega-3 supplements to improve tear quality.

Common Questions

Yes, typically older females going through menopause are more prone to having dry eyes than others. Also people taking certain medications such as anxiety medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, anti-muscle spasm medications, Accutane, beta blockers, contraceptives, as well as certain diuretic medications, are more prone to have dry eyes. Also people who are contact lens wearers who don’t properly take care of their contacts or are wearing contacts with low oxygen permeability may be more prone to dry eyes. Additionally, people who tend to work on a digital screen for a prolonged period of time can increase their risk of dry eyes.
Yes, when we perform tasks that require high visual concentration, such as staring at a computer screen, reading, or writing for a prolonged period of time, this results in us blinking less, causing dry eyes. Additionally, some other everyday activities that can cause dry eyes are using a hair dryer, not drinking enough water, sitting in front of the office air-conditioner or fan, wearing eye makeup, working in extreme temperatures, wind blowing in your face, or being surrounded by cigarette smoke.
Why Dry Eye Affects Women More Than Men
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Contact Us

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, contact us at (562) 925-6591 to schedule an appointment. The sooner dry eye is addressed, the easier it is to effectively treat. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.

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I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

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Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

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My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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