Menopause hormones can affect vision 

Q: Are my eyes deceiving me, or do they get all itchy and does my vision get blurry when I'm hit with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and heart palpitations? -- Jennifer A., New York

A: Seeing (or not seeing) is believing! You're right that your menopausal symptoms may be associated with vision changes. There are estrogen receptors in the eyes, and a drop in estrogen, which is also a trigger for menopausal hot flashes and heart palpitations, can leave you with blurred vision and dry eye. Dry eye affects about 60 percent of women during perimenopause and menopause.

Dry eye can make your eyes feel itchy and gritty; they also may get runny -- those aren't tears, just water without the lubricating quality of tears. Try some over-the-counter artificial teardrops, and your vision should clear up.

If your vision problems persist or get worse, it's important that you see an ophthalmologist. You may need a prescription medication for dry eye or have some other issues. Besides falling hormone levels, other eye problems related to age include cataracts and macular degeneration. Luckily, there are ways to roll back your RealAge so you improve and protect your eyesight.

Regular workouts: Just as daily exercise keeps your heart arteries strong, supple and free of plaque, it also keeps your retinal arteries healthy. That's why walking 10,000 steps a day is good for your vision.

Great nutrition: Getting enough vitamin A through food promotes good vision; it's in carrots and all orange veggies and fruit. Other nutrients that protect the eyes include vitamin C (in leafy greens, citrus, berries), lutein (10 mg a day), zeaxanthin (2 milligrams a day), omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E in peanuts and almonds (you want 10 IU of mixed tocopherols a day).

Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.

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