Did you know that many women – especially menopausal and postmenopausal women – who have chronically dry eyes don’t have an eye problem at all?
Instead, these women very often have a hormonal problem, and it’s not a lack of oestrogen or progesterone. It’s actually a lack of adequate testosterone!
All too often, when a woman suffering from dry eyes visits her eye doctor she’s handed a prescription for the latest patent medicine, or a recommendation for a synthetic-chemical-containing ‘artificial tears’, or even advised to have surgery, when what she really needs is to resume making her own tears with the help of a little more testosterone!
Hormones could beat the heart of your dry eyes
In 2002, a team led by Harvard researcher D. A. Sullivan published a breakthrough report, titled Androgen deficiency, Meibomian gland dysfunction, and evaporative dry eye.1 Meibomian glands are lipid and oil-secreting glands found in eyelids.
Dr. Sullivan’s team established (among other things) that androgens regulate lipid production in mouse and rabbit meibomian glands, and that androgen deficiency may lead to meibomian gland dysfunction, altered fat and oil profiles in meibomian gland secretions, tear film instability of the normal film of tears over the eyes, and dry eyes from evaporation.
In addition, they reported that anti-androgen therapy in men is associated with meibomian gland disease, a decreased tear film breakup time, and functional dry eye, and that women with a rare problem – complete insensitivity to androgens – also have associated meibomian gland changes, and a significant increase in the signs and symptoms of dry eye.
Dr. Sullivan’s team concluded (in part): “… the meibomian gland is an androgen target organ… androgen deficiency may promote meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye.”
Dry eyes relieved with testosterone cream
This research was followed rather quickly by a 2003 research report2 titled Treatment of Dry Eye with a Transdermal 3% Testosterone Cream.
The researchers treated 28 volunteers ages 25-76 (mean age 52) all of whom had dry eyes. There were 25 women and just three men in the group, giving an early clue that testosterone perhaps might be involved. The volunteers all rubbed the 3% testosterone cream into their eyelids.
The researchers concluded: “Transdermal delivery of testosterone appears to be a safe and effective treatment for dry eye. The transdermal cream allows use of increased testosterone concentration and dramatically improves patient comfort. Postmenopausal females perceived the greatest relief of symptoms from the treatment, while males had the least benefit.” (Hm… another clue perhaps?) Since 2003, there have been more research reports confirming that testosterone frequently relieves dry eyes.
Restoring testosterone levels leads to real relief
At Tahoma Clinic, nearly all the women who’ve told me they have dry eyes have been found to have low to very low testosterone levels.
Testosterone cream rubbed into the eyelids can rapidly take care of the problem, but the large majority of women find that testosterone used in the usual way – as part of bio-identical hormone replacement – is all that’s needed. Direct application to the eyelids can almost always be discontinued.
If you have a family member or a friend who’s using ‘artificial tears’, or a patent medicine for ‘dry eyes’, suggest that she (or very occasionally he) get her testosterone levels checked by a doctor skilled and knowledgeable in both natural medicine and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
When low testosterone levels are restored to normal safely and effectively, dry eyes are just one of many things likely to improve!Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Jonathan V. Wright
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 8, Issue 4 – April 2014
Full references and citations for this article are available in the downloadable PDF version of the monthly Nutrition and Healing issue in which this article appears.