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Visual function in menopause: the role of hormone replacement therapy

Guaschino, Secondo MD1; Grimaldi, Eva MD1; Sartore, Andrea MD1; Mugittu, Raffaela MD1; Mangino, Francesco MD1; Bortoli, Paolo2; Pensiero, Stefano MD3; Vinciguerra, Agatino MD3; Perissutti, Paolo MD3

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Objective: To assess the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on visual function after menopause.

Design: This study was conducted on 80 postmenopausal women aged 52 to 70 years. Women were randomly divided into two groups: 40 women were treated by oral HRT (equine conjugated estrogens 0.625 mg/day + dydrogesterone 5 mg/day in a continuous combined regimen), and 40 women were not treated with hormones (control group). Each woman underwent a contrast sensitivity test, a Schirmer test, and an evaluation of intraocular pressure before starting the study and 1 year after the beginning of the study. Statistical analysis was performed by Student's t test and Fisher's exact test.

Results: Contrast sensitivity function was significantly improved in all spatial frequencies (1.5, 3, 6, and 12 cycles per degree) with the exception of 18 cycles per degree in the HRT group 1 year after the beginning of treatment, whereas the control group demonstrated significant impairment at the lowest spatial frequencies (1.5, 3, and 6 cycles per degree). Tear production was significantly improved in the HRT group 1 year after the beginning of treatment, and intraocular pressure was similar in the two groups before and after the beginning of the study.

Conclusions: HRT improves visual function, promoting a better contrast sensitivity and a higher tear production, but does not modify intraocular pressure.

©2003The North American Menopause Society


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