Dry EyesAs doctors expand their education past medical school training, they are realizing that testosterone has an array of benefits. This includes increased sexual drive and response, cardiovascular health, prevention of osteoporosis, increased muscle tone and better skin integrity. To this list of benefits they can now add elimination of dry eyes.
Dry eyes is a common complaint that we see at the Renaissance Health Centre especially among our female patients. Usually, their ophthalmologist has prescribed topical Restasis which is a medication that typically is used to suppress the immune system in patients receiving organ transplants. However, this medication often offers little or no relief because it is not treating the underlying cause – low testosterone.
In 2002 a research group at the Scheppens Eye Research Institute in Boston discovered that women with primary and secondary Sjogren’s syndrome are androgen deficient. The meibomian glands that are found in the eyelids produce and secrete oils that prevent tears from evaporating from our eyes. These glands are stimulated by testosterone in both sexes. As we age our testosterone levels usually decrease and the meibomian glands don’t make those oils, and as a result our tears evaporate quicker.
Testosterone is best used topically as it helps maintain a steady level in the body. When a person with dry eyes first starts this therapy, it is best to apply a small dab to each eyelid to initiate the meibomian gland’s production of these oils. Once the dry eyes improve then this hormone no longer needs to be applied to the eyelid but should continue to be used topically on the skin.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD