WOMEN'S OCULAR HEALTH: A SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO HORMONAL EFFECTS ON THE EYE

Title WOMEN'S OCULAR HEALTH: A SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO HORMONAL EFFECTS ON THE EYE
Author, Co-Author Ann-Marie Cavallaro, Kathryn Peek
Topic
Year
1995
Day
Saturday
Program Number
Poster 46
Room
Grand Salon A,B
Affiliation
Abstract It is well known that steroid sex hormones such as estrogen regulate numerous physiological functions in the human reproductive system. Over the last two decades it has been discovered that the sex hormones also have substantial effects on other organ systems not related to reproduction, and that several systemic diseases, disorders, and health conditions affect women uniquely, disproportionately, or differently than they affect men. The same hormonal environment that affects women's general health differentially influences the eye as well. To provide optimal eye management, it is essential to understand how steroid sex hormones affect health conditions differently in the two genders. For instance, cardiovascular disease affects women differently than it does men. Although women die from heart disease at the same rate as men, they are protected until after menopause by estrogen, which improves the HDL/LDL ratio of blood cholesterol and restores vasomotor stability by acting on vessel walls to decrease vascular resistance. Estrogen also has a beneficial effect on lipid and glucose metabolism, which partially explains why the incidence of diabetes increases in females after menopause. Autoimmune diseases known to have ocular effects are much more common in women than in men. A disrupted balance between estrogen and testosterone seems to be a factor in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Ocular signs and symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome is also likely to be related to disruptions in sex steroid hormones. Estrogen also affects the CNS. It has been shown to enhance the inhibitory effects of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain and retina. The latency of GABA-mediated auditory brainstem responses (the equivalent of VEP) is increased in women when estrogen levels are high. The effect is reversed if progesterone is added to the system. This review presents an overview of the effects of estrogen on systemic conditions that relate to the oc
Affiliation of Co-Authors
Outline