Choosing To Live Better

Hormone Imbalances That Can Have A Detrimental Effect On Your Vision

Abnormal hormone production sometimes can be the underlying cause of vision problems. Hormones regulate the way your body functions, and your eyes are no exception. Although the relationship between certain hormones and their effects on vision isn't always completely clear, it's important to understand more about how these hormones can have a major impact on your eyes and vision.


If you suffer from hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid – of which Graves' disease is the most common cause – increased production of the hormone thyroxine can lead to:

  • Conjunctival edema (also known as chemosis) – swelling of the conjunctiva and tissue lining the eyelids that makes it hard to close your eyes

  • Opthalmoplegia – weakness or paralysis of the muscles responsible for eye movements

  • Lid lag – delayed movement of the upper eyelid when the eye moves downward

  • Protruding eyeballs – a symptom of Graves' ophthalmopathy, a condition caused by swelling of the tissues and muscles in the eye socket


Low levels of the hormone insulin due to diabetes mellitus can affect blood supply to the retina. What happens is that too much sugar in the blood can block the tiny blood vessels carrying blood to the retina. Elevated levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol – a condition often present in individuals with diabetes – also can block blood flow to the retina.

Blurred vision can be a symptom of either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, signaling that your blood sugar is high. The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of the disease damaging the blood vessels in the retina.

The condition known as diabetic retinopathy, which is a common complication of diabetes, is characterized by large dark spots that form in the visual field. Vision changes also may include impaired color vision and double or distorted vision.

More serious vision problems can occur following complications such as retinal detachment or glaucoma. Complete vision loss eventually can occur if diabetic retinopathy progresses.


You may experience vision symptoms related to fluctuating estrogen levels during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. If you take birth control pills, you also are more likely to notice changes in your vision because of the effect hormones can have on your eyes.

Elevated levels of estrogen in the body can change the shape of the cornea, causing blurred vision. Usually, the change is caused by fluid retention, which often occurs in pregnancy and is a common side effect of high levels of estrogen.

Anytime the cornea swells, your vision can become clouded. Other early symptoms of corneal swelling include eye discomfort, increased sensitivity to light, and halos around light.

A decline in estrogen levels, which occurs during and after menopause, can lead to dry eyes and increase your risk for glaucoma. Research suggests that less estrogen circulating in the body may make the optic nerve more susceptible to damage.

Similarly, men can begin to have vision problems as they get older and their testosterone levels drop.

For an eye doctor, contact a clinic such as Quality Eye Care.