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From time to time, we have to remind ourselves and the health-care providers that estrogen and the other sex steroids are actually involved in all the body organs, and that their physiological effects are not limited to fertility, treatment of menopausal symptoms, or cardiovascular and bone protection. Menopause Live has addressed in the past the effects of estrogen on other tissues and bodily functions, such as the skin, the voice or hearing. This time, I put the eye and sight into this context. A small, but double-blind, placebo-controlled study (n = 40, age 63.9 ± 5.1 years, 13.2 ± 6.3 years postmenopause) investigated the outcomes of estrogen, testosterone or their combination in hysterectomized women with dry eyes [1]. The results demonstrated estrogen-related worsening in dryness intensity after 8 weeks of estradiol gel 1 mg/g as compared to placebo; 1% testosterone cream showed a neutral effect, but a combination of the two hormones led to a significant increase in tear secretion.


  • Amos Pines
    Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel


  1. Golebiowski B, Badarudin N, Eden J, et al. The effects of transdermal testosterone and oestrogen therapy on dry eye in postmenopausal women: a randomised, placebo-controlled, pilot study. Br J Ophthalmol 2016 Nov 3. Epub ahead of print
  2. Sator MO, Joura EA, Golaszewski T, et al. Treatment of menopausal keratoconjunctivitis sicca with topical oestradiol. Br J Obstet Gynaecol 1998;105:100–2
  3. AlAwlaqi A, Hammadeh M. Examining the relationship between hormone therapy and dry-eye syndrome in postmenopausal women: a cross-sectional comparison study. Menopause 2016;23:550-5
  4. Schaumberg DA, Buring JE, Sullivan DA, et al. Hormone replacement therapy and dry eye syndrome. JAMA 2001;286:2114–19
  5. Lai K, Cui J, Ni S, Zhang Y, He J, Yao K. The effects of postmenopausal hormone use on cataract: a meta-analysis. PLoS One 2013;8:e78647
  6. Dewundara SS, Wiggs JL, Sullivan DA, Pasquale LR. Is estrogen a therapeutic target for glaucoma? Semin Ophthalmol 2016;31:140-6
  7. Haan MN, Klein R, Klein BE, et al. Hormone therapy and age-related macular degeneration: the Women’s Health Initiative Sight Exam Study. Arch Ophthalmol 2006;124:988-92
  8. Zetterberg M. Age-related eye disease and gender. Maturitas 2016;83:19-26
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