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Ladies Only! Birth Control Pills and Dry Eye

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  • Ladies Only! Birth Control Pills and Dry Eye

    I know that this topic has come up in the past on here, but I have a bit of a different perspective. In some earlier posts here, some women actually seemed to feel that the birth control pills helped their dry eye. That was interesting but I'm concerned about the pills causing dry eye.

    I'm wondering if any of you (Ladies only, obviously!) have noticed any link between being on birth control pills and your dry eyes (either positive or negative). There is so much talk about hormones and menopause and hormone supplements being possible instigators but I haven't seen any definitive answers about birth control pills, which would obviously be an issue in the same way.

    I've been on birth control pills for almost 30 years. I'm 48 and I'm not in or near menopause yet. I've changed the type of pills a number of times and I'm not aware of a specific point of either when my dry eyes started nor any correlation to the pills or which kind of pills I was on at that time. I'm currently on Yasmin (and I currently, of course, still have dry eyes).

    Could you respond as to whether you have had any positive or negative effects to your dry eye that you know are due to your birth control pills and what kind of pills?

    Of course there is one caveat here...if people went off the pills and their dry eyes got better, they're probably not reading the DEZ posts anymore. So we may not hear both sides to this!

    Thanks all!

  • #2
    I think the pill influences my eyes or at least some hormones do. I've taken the pill since the age of 16 - probably the age when my first eye symtomps have started, I don't remember that exactly. I've changed a lot of pills over the last years but I have never noticed a difference.
    BUT: when I get my period during the 7 days without a pill by eyes become horrible, they are soooooooo much more inflammened during that time. Does anybody have an explanation for that???


    • #3
      I cannot believe that only one person replied to this post. C'mon girls, I know you're out there!


      • #4
        Well, um, not everyone wants to disclose their contraceptive practices online!

        But for what it's worth, I know of at least 2-3 reports of sudden onset dry eye that the patients linked to birth control pills as a trigger.
        Rebecca Petris
        The Dry Eye Foundation


        • #5
          okay, well I don't take birth control as it would put me in an odd group I guess. But I can tell you many birth control pills list dry eye as a side effect. There have been cases of ladies using birth control pills and develop dry eye symptoms. Stop taking them to try and concieve and dry goes away. But guess what in some instances pregnancy brings back dry eye symptoms. not being a lady and only reading research you gals have the odds against you when it comes to DES.


          • #6
            I'm 44 and post menopausal. I thought my dry eye was due to menopause since it was first diagnosed and then I learned my levels were post-menopausal at 42.

            Since then however, I've been to a dry eye specialist who believes I have ocular rosacea. Recently, my identical twin sister has been diagnosed with dry eye and also received a diagnosis of ocular rosacea from another dry eye expert and her hormonal levels are still pre-menopausal and she is not on any bcp's or hormone replacement.

            I'm currently on hormone replacement and do not believe that it has made my eyes any drier. It certainly helps me in many ways. I've also learned that I had a paternal aunt and first cousin (female) with dry eyes.

            The bottom line is that age and decreased hormones predispose some people towards minor dry eye. I don't believe that menopause is a huge contributor towards dry eye. The reason I believe this is because I asked every OB/GYN I came in contact with (I'm a pediatrician) about dry eye/menopause and many were not aware of the connection. They simply had not had any of these post-menopausal women complain of dry eye (they were too busy complaining of hot flashes, etc.)

            Why don't you stop the BCP for one month and see if it makes a difference? BCP's also mask the onset of menopause.



            • #7
              Eileen, that's very interesting. My father has dry eye, too, and I know it's not from Birth Control pills, LOL, but he doesn't have it as severely as I do either.

              Rebecca, you're right about people not wanting to post their, um, practices, but most people don't use their real names here anyway. I wouldn't have been so detailed if people knew that I'm really Heather Locklear!

              Indrep, thank you for being the only guy that responded, I agree with that.

              I'm leaning toward going off for awhile and seeing what happens. My hesitating is not pregnancy (I can use another means of birth control) hesitation is that the Yasmin has done wonders for preventing the skin on my face from breaking out (part of the rosacea issue). I still get the pink face, but I don't get pimples.

              What a trade-off.


              • #8
                Heather Locklear does not get pimples!
                Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.


                • #9
                  I've taken Valette for about 3,5 years. I got dry eyes before I took birth controll pill.
                  Once I was at my doctor, he asked me if I took birth controll pill and mentioned that could cause dry eyes. I read afterwards some articles and the statistics say around 50 to 60% report DES. If I search by google, "valette dry eyes" I see a lot of posts saying they can not bear contact lenses any more since they took valette.
                  Birth controll pills raises female harmon and reduces male harmon. They help to avoid acnes. Side effect: dryness, dry eyes. Male harmon also helps to produce tears, thats why there are more female DES patients.
                  I've been off Valette for about 5 weeks. My dry eyes havent got better. But I guess it might take 3 months or so.


                  • #10
                    You are correct about other medical specialties that prescribe meds or diagnose diseases and ignore the dry eye aspect of the med or disease. OB/GYNs, rhuematologists and urologists should be very aware of dry eye. I have made attempts to speak with these groups and I get same response "My patients are concerned with ________". I try to explain that within 24 months those same patients are going to be concerned with dry eyes and one day they may find out you could have sent them to someone who could have started an early intervention plan and saved them some grief. Guess how far I've gotten?


                    • #11
                      @ atta: I take 'Valette' as well. I'm also thinking about stopping to take it. Have there been success stories about eyes becoming better after stopping to take it?


                      • #12
                        Hi Stephgurl

                        Yes, I once read in a forum that someone stopped Valette and felt better afterwards. And she said she wouldnt take birth control pills anymore. But I think she didnt have dry eyes before and her DES is not very serious. It depends on individual. I'm really bothered by DES, so I'm willing to try every related possibility.
                        It will take 2 to 3 months till the natural hormon rebuilds. I will report the result here.


                        • #13
                          menopause and dry eye

                          According to most corneal specialists, the LADARVISION website, most dry eye websites I've read as well as my personal experience, there is a definite link between the two. The fact that most OB/GYN's don't know that is hardly surprising so don't let that sway you. The vast majority of menopausal women never make the connection between their eye symptoms and their hot flashes and never even mention them to the OB/GYN's. I know I never did. It just never occurred to me that the two were related.

                          According to one dry eye specialist here in Maine, there is also a connection between menopause and rosacea/ocular rosacea. He quotes that up to 70% of peri-menopausal women develop some type of rosacea. He does not state why but I have my own theory:

                          One of the key triggers of rosacea (as well as being a symptom) is facial flushing. No one flushes more than a peri or post menopausal flashes and night sweats can be intense and predominently affect the face and chest. Add the link between ocular rosacea/MGD and the link between menopause and MGD (it's seems to be a question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg) and menopause is just a dry eye recipe.


                          The hot flash queen. (believe me)


                          • #14
                            Oh great. I have rosacea ..facial and occular. So I'll go off the pill and go through menopause, get pimples and hot flashes.
                            DianaT, I really am Heather Locklear. You just haven't seen me in HDTV, LOL.


                            • #15

                              Please remember that this is just my theory!! There is an OTC HRT drug available in Europe called Livial (tibilone) that has not yet received FDA approval in the US. I took it for a year when I first started long-term Lupron therapy and it was great for the hot flashes. I had to order it from Thailand (I felt like a smuggler everytime I went to the local PO to pick up my "package") It is a non estrogen form of HRT that actually has more testosterone properties than estrogenic. I have been waiting 3 years for the FDA to approve it as my "source" in Thailand is no longer available. But I keep hoping and waiting.

                              BTW, I am actually Angelina Jolie. Brad says "hi"!!