Upon examining the effects of exposure to high-dose sex steroid hormones, researchers recently observed impro­vement in tear function test results following the use of estradiol, even for a limited period of time. They noted that the use of estradiol during menopause could improve dry eye symptoms in patients.

The study included 40 patients (average age of 33.3 years) who were admitted to an infertility clinic and planned to undergo ovulation induction with exogenous gonadotropins. Prior to initiating ovulation induction, the basal levels of estradiol were measured on day three of the menstrual cycle and ophthalmologic examinations were performed. The researchers measured estradiol levels again on the day of ovulation induction using human chorionic gonadotropin and compared with basal estra­diol and also repeated eye examinations.

The team reported significantly higher basal levels of estradiol after ovulation induction than before. Tear breakup time scores before and after induction were 6.2 seconds and 8.4 seconds, respectively. Schirmer’s test scores were 14.3mm and 20.6mm before and after induction, respectively. Both values were significantly higher with ovulation induction.

“This is the first study to measure the effect of estrogen on eye functions in the reproductive period. As a result, the effects of estrogen on the tear parameters in the postmenopausal and perimenopausal periods are controversial,” the study authors wrote in their paper. “In our study, high levels of estrogen in the reproductive age group exerted positive effects on tear parameters.”

Çolak E, Ulusoy MO, Ceran MU, et al. Evaluation of the tear parameters of ovulation induction patients in a short time period with anterior segment optical coherence tomography. Arq Bras Oftalmol. January 15, 2021. [Epub ahead of print].