Women Unaware of Menopause/Dry Eye Connection? Surely They Jest!
May 26, 2006
The Society for Women's Health Research recent dry eye survey revealed that 62% of menopausal and peri-menopausal women experience dry eye symptoms. The society news release, and all the media coverage headlines, focused on the fact that 84% of the menopausal women surveyed supposedly claimed not to have any idea painful dry eyes could be linked to menopause.
Unless the menopausal women surveyed were all from Lancaster County, PA (the heart of Amish country) it's hard to believe a random survey on menpausal age women would identify 255 women out of 304 who obviously never read magazines, watch prime time TV, use the Internet to research their health issues, or discuss their menopause with other mid-life female friends. Newsflash! We are not our mother's menopause! We talk openly and often about menopause - and our dry eye symptoms.
I have dry eyes and I'm well qualified to speak for the band of peri-menopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women who have wandered like nomads from eye doctor to eye doctor with supposedly "non-specific" complaints of painful dry gritty eyes. We collectively shout that we have always known that some of our dry gritty eye problems could be menopause related. It is our eye doctors who didn't know, nor did most of our eye doctors take our painful dry eye complaints very seriously (we were too often viewed as just another middle-aged menopausal women complaining about something) -until Wall Street deemed "dry eye treatment" a multimillion and now potential billion dollar industry.
To paraphrase a Helen Reddy tune that all dry eye women-of-a-certain age will remember, "We are women hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore." Cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, once said, "There is no more creative force in the world than a menopausal woman with zest." She made that statement over 30 years ago and it has never been truer than it is today.
A forceful creative women with zest who immediately come to mind is Rebecca Petris, the woman behind www.dryeyezone.com. This motivated dry eye suffering woman developed and manages dry eye information and a community web site where women, and also men, gather to inform themselves about dry eye syndrome and share information their eye doctors don't tell them about. Our suggestion for The Society for Women's Health Research Group: the next time you receive unrestricted grant money from an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company (Allergan) to conduct a women's dry eye survey, seek out informed dry eye internet community women - they tell it like it is.
The 2006 Menopause and Dry Eye Survey by The Society for Women's Health Research [ press release]