Other than refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism, changes to our vision can occur for other reasons, such as hormonal changes. These can occur naturally, due to age, like in menopause, or they can happen because of diseases, such as diabetes.
Here are some life stages and the vision changes that one may encounter:
Adolescence – GnRH travels to the pituitary gland to signal the release of other hormones to begin puberty. Growth spurts during this time can temporarily lengthen the eyeball, causing myopia, or nearsightedness, in both boys and girls.
Pregnancy – Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can cause changes to the glands in the eyes and eyelids, causing dry, irritated eyes. An increase in estrogen can also affect the shape of the cornea, causing temporary vision changes that are typically reversed after pregnancy.
Menopause – A decrease in estrogen can cause the structures of the eye to become dry and less elastic, causing dry eye and blurry vision. Menopausal women also tend to have higher intraocular pressure which, if left untreated, could lead to glaucoma.
Middle-age for men – As testosterone levels naturally drop with age, men may experience dry eyes and blurry vision, in the same way, menopausal women do. This is due to changes in the tear ducts and the oily film in the eyes that keep them moist.
At any age – people who experience excessively high or low thyroid hormones can experience changes to their vision. For example, high levels of the T4 hormone can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. The thyroid hormones also contribute to the development of cones, the cells in our eyes responsible for color vision. Furthermore, for people with diabetes, low levels of insulin can make it difficult for your eyes to produce tears, causing dry eyes. This can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
If you experience any sudden changes in vision, especially flashes of light or a dark “curtain” descending over your field of vision, it’s important to see an eye doctor right away. Our eye experts are waiting for you! Schedule a needed check-up with us at Shinagawa!
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