Sex hormones fluctuate and play particular roles throughout the lives of women and men. Hormones don't just play a yo-yo game with our moods; they also play an important role in a host of essential processes in our bodies. Hormones are also the reason women have the privilege of giving birth.

Hormones are biological substances synthesized by cells and secreted into the bloodstream. They play an essential role in the human body's physiology, providing various functions and purposes (metabolism, growth, reproduction) and transmitting messages throughout the body. Hormonal changes also affect vision. Here are the different stages of our lives and how our hormones can impact our vision.

During adolescence, the hormone GnRH signals to the pituitary gland, which releases other hormones, triggering puberty. Due to growth spurts, the eye may temporarily lengthen during this period. This causes nearsightedness in both boys and girls. 

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can cause changes in the glands in your eyes, causing irritation and dryness. An increase in estrogen can also change the shape of the cornea, causing a temporary change in vision. Vision usually returns to normal after pregnancy.

Peri-menopause and menopause: With a decrease in estrogen, the eye's structures can become dry and less elastic, resulting in dry eyes and blurred vision. Postmenopausal women also tend to have elevated intraocular pressure, which, if left untreated, can cause glaucoma.

Midlife in men: While testosterone levels naturally decrease as we age, men can experience dry eyes and blurred vision just as menopausal women do. These symptoms result from changes to the tear ducts and the lipid layer of the tear film, which keeps the eyes lubricated. 

Instead of treating them as mood disorders, let's try to tame the hormonal fluctuations that punctuate our lives. Understanding their role and how they affect us won't make us instantly zen, but it could significantly improve our quality of life and reconcile us with this part of human nature. 

If you want to discuss changes in your vision, make an appointment with your IRIS optometrist.