Every May we celebrate women’s health month. The health of our eyes is often overlooked. “nothing feels wrong, so I don’t need to see the eye doctor” or “I’ve got more important health issues to worry about”…we’ve heard it all.
Here’s the truth: eye health is an important part of your overall health. And, women tend to be at higher risk for some eye-related health issues.
What vision problems affect women?
All vision problems can affect women. However, it’s true that women suffer from vision problems more frequently than men for a variety of reasons.
According to PreventBlindness.org, women account for:
65% of people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
61% of people with glaucoma
61% of people with cataracts
56% of people with refractive errors
63% of people with vision impairment
66% of people who are blind
Why are women at higher risk?
- Age: According to the National Eye Institute, “women generally have a longer life expectancy than men and are therefore more likely to develop age-related eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.”
- Diabetes: The Office on Women’s Health indicates that about 15 million women in the United States have diabetes. That equates to about 1 in every 9 adult women. Diabetes is a health condition that can cause changes in vision or vision loss due to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
- Hormones: Fluctuations in hormones due to pregnancy and menopause can affect a woman’s eye health. Pregnancy can cause high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, dry eye syndrome, and even eye migraines. Women experiencing menopause can suffer from excessively dry eyes due to the hormonal changes in the body.
- Medications: Women more frequently take medications than men. Certain medications, including hormonal birth control pills, can negatively impact vision and overall eye health.
So what can women do to protect their eye health and vision?
Don’t skip regular routine eye exams. Annual comprehensive eye exams make it more likely that serious eye conditions are identified and diagnosed early on. With early diagnosis, comes early treatment…and better outcomes in vision protection.