Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body, from cell to cell, telling your body what to do and when and how to do it. There are hormones that dictate everything from thyroid health and stress reactions to hunger and sleepiness.
Of all the hormones in the body, the sex hormones (namely estrogen) are the ones most likely to affect vision. During puberty, the flood of hormones can impact a growing child’s vision. In the same way that the pre-teen’s arms and legs are lengthening, so too are their eyeballs. This can result in blurry vision and myopia, or nearsightedness. While both of these conditions may be temporary, only regular eye exams will let you know for certain if vision correction is needed or not.
Adult women and hormone-related vision
Estrogen can have a big impact on vision in women. In addition to puberty in girls, women experience a rush of hormones during pregnancy and a depletion of hormones during menopause, both of which can have a noticeable impact on vision.
In the case of pregnancy, women may experience blurry vision, light sensitivity, and even headaches and migraines due to fluctuating hormone levels and fluid retention. Once they deliver (and stop breastfeeding), most women see their vision return to normal.
One note to keep in mind: blurry vision combined with seeing spots or haloes during pregnancy could be a symptom of preeclampsia. In all cases, pregnant women should be sure to discuss vision changes with their ob/gyn.
Menopause can also affect a woman’s vision. As estrogen levels decline, female tissues can become dry and undergo structural changes. This can affect vision by way of dry eye and blurry vision. While lubricating eye drops can help, working with your doctor to adjust hormone levels while also paying particular attention to your vision can mean the difference between eye discomfort and irritation and normal vision.