Androgen Deficiency and Dry Eyes

If you have sore and irritable dry eyes, evidence has shown that low testosterone levels or ‘androgen deficiency’ can affect your eye health, as well as your general well-being.

 

Dry Eyes & Testosterone

Studies in the late nineties found that low androgen hormone levels ( low testosterone) were linked to meibomian and lacrimal gland dysfunctions in the eye. Both these conditions sound frustrating – and they are.

The tiny glands (holes) along the ridges of your eyelids are the meibomian glands, responsible for lubricating your eyes each time you blink. The lacrimal glands provide the oily mixture of fluids that the meibomian glands use to coat and protect the surface of the eye.

Testosterone plays a key role in keeping the meibomian glands healthy by regulating the lipid secretions from the glands.

The studies also established that there are androgen receptors in meibomian gland tissue and that anti-androgen therapy in men is often associated with meibomian gland disease (MGD) and functional dry eye.

Our findings indicate that chronic androgen deficiency is associated with meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye.

– Schepens Eye Research Institute (K.L.K., M.R.D., J.M.C., D.A.S.), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (M.R.D., J.M.C.), Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

However, to this day very little has been made known in the mainstream media about androgen hormones and their key role in the health of your eyes. The emphasis is, for the most part, placed on artificial tears, steroid drops and anti inflammatory solutions.

And while these solutions can provide comfort to soothe symptoms, they do not necessarily address the underlying cause of your dry eye condition.

What are androgens?

 

Androgens are a generic name for a group of naturally occurring steroid hormones that are vital for good health in both men and women. The most important androgen is testosterone, produced naturally by the testes in men and the ovaries in women.

Smaller amounts are also made by your adrenal glands. DHEA, (the youth hormone) and DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) are also classed as androgens.

 

While doctors are slowly recognizing the benefits of testosterone therapy for aging men, evidence that women also become testosterone deficient is largely ignored.

-Edward R. Rosick, DO, MPH, MS


Signs that you could have low testosterone or deficient androgen levels:

In Men:

  • lowered libido and erectile dysfunction;
  • loss of motivation, energy and general well being;
  • depression (losing your mojo);
  • less muscle mass and strength;
  • loss of bone density;
  • weight gain – especially around the abdomen.

In Women:

  • lowered libido;
  • depression;
  • less muscle mass and strength;
  • loss of bone density;
  • sudden absence of menstruation;
  • hot flashes;
  • over-prescribed use of oral contraceptives;
  • weight gain – especially around the abdomen.

While typically we may like to think of testosterone as simply a male sex hormone, its uses in the body are many for both sexes. It is also naturally occurring and not to be confused with anabolic steroids.

Testosterone is a brain hormone.  A 2006 study sheds light on the idea that healthy testosterone is key to maintaining energy and vigour in older men.  Testosterone also affects cognition and spatial abilities.

How Would I know if I have deficient Androgen levels?

 

Chronic, long term androgen deficiency can lead to a slow decline in quality of life. A lack of drive, motivation and energy often go unnoticed or diagnosed as other more minor or trivial problems.

Andropause  has become a more common term used to describe testosterone-deficient illness in men.

A routine hormone panel and blood test can diagnose low or borderline low androgen levels. It is really important to have this done once a year, especially as you get into your late thirties and older.

More importantly, take note of your most obvious symptoms.

Do you have one or more of the above symptoms along with having sore, dry eyes and inflammation? If so, it is highly likely that you have signs of low testosterone or androgen-deficient dry eyes.

Declining, or chronically low testosterone levels need to addressed in order to maintain general health and vitality, including the health of your eyes.

 

References:

Testosterone And The Brain. Zitzman M. 2006

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10415627 Androgens and dry eye in Sjögren’s syndrome. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 Jun  Sullivan DA et al.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12114274 Sullivan DA et al. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Jun; Androgen Deficiency, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, and Evaporative Dry Eye

 

Speak Your Mind