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Dr. Michelle Calder-Cardwell is the owner and lead optometrist at Urban Optiques Vision & Eyewear in Northville, MI.
Q. Could hormone changes be the cause of my vision problems?
A. Vision problems occur for a variety of reasons, but an imbalance in hormone levels could actually be the underlying cause. Hormones regulate important body functions that can affect the eyes, and when they change, so can your vision.
From childhood to old age, everyone experiences hormone fluctuations. As children enter puberty and go through rapid physical growth, their eyeballs also lengthen, which can create myopia or near sightedness. Once hormones stabilize, vision should stabilize as well. But it's important to keep up with annual eye exams during these hormonal changes to keep kids' eyes healthy.
Women of child-bearing age commonly have changes in vision due to birth control pills or pregnancy. In addition to birth control pills, other medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and antihistamines, can cause changes in vision. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause dry, irritated, or watery eyes, as well as the inability to wear contacts. Doctors recommend pregnant women wait until after their baby is born to get a new prescription, however if you have certain medical conditions like diabetes or are experiencing unusual or sudden changes in your vision, a trip to your eye care professional is recommended to rule out more serious eye conditions.
As we age, we can expect to experience some age-related vision loss, but we may not realize that hormones are a primary cause of diminishing eye sight. Peri-menopausal and menopausal women often report having vision changes as a result of decreased hormones. Also, women who have had hysterectomies may experience vision changes until hormones and hormonal replacement therapies normalize. Lastly, middle-aged men and those with low testosterone may find their vision isn't what it used to be.
Changes in hormone levels are typically normal and not cause for concern. However, if you experience unusual or sudden vision changes, you should get a comprehensive eye exam where your eye doctor can check your eyes and look for signs of other health conditions like diabetes. It's also a good idea to visit your medical doctor to find out if your hormones are out of balance.