Highlighting Women’s Eye Health
March is Women’s History Month, celebrating women’s contributions to history, society, medicine, and culture. There have been groundbreaking contributions from women within eye healthcare as well.
Did you know that women are at greater risk for eye disease and visual impairments? According to the Women’s Eye Health Organization, women account for more than two-thirds of the world’s blind and visually impaired population, which is the main reason the Women’s Eye Health Organization was established in 2001 in response to this troubling reality.
We strive to educate women and our patient family to empower patients to make healthy lifestyle changes to improve their eye health.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies show a gender gap in eye diseases. Women are more likely than men to suffer from sight-threatening conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma. Women make up 65 percent of AMD cases, 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. Why the gender gap? There are a few theories. On average, women live longer, and many eye problems are age-related.
Unique Vision Problems Women Need to Closely Watch
- Dry Eyes – Occurs double the rate in postmenopausal women
- Autoimmune Diseases – Women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, many of which affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyperthyroiditis
- Pregnancy – vision changes due to the hormones pregnant women experience
Women, It Is Now Time to Take Care of Yourself!
Women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions. In addition to being responsible for their own health, women are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. We encourage all women to carve out some time for themselves today and take care of themselves so that they can continue to be that shining star for their loved ones. Call TODAY to schedule your appointment for an eye exam! In the meantime, here are a few simple steps in taking care of you and improving your eye health:
- Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish.
- Drop the smoking habit. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Protect Your Eyes. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.
- Know Your Family History. If you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have a 50 percent chance of developing this condition. A family history of glaucoma increases your glaucoma risk by four to nine times.
- Use Cosmetics Safely. Throw away eye makeup after three months and get new products. Infection-causing bacteria grow quickly in creamy or liquid eye makeup.
We encourage women as well as men to get regular eye exams. Making eye health a top priority today can help protect your eye health as you age.
References: Women’s Eye Health Organization, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and American Optometric Association