This month is for the ladies. April is dedicated to women’s eye health month, which is important because when it comes to eye health, gender may play a major role. Women, on average, are more likely to experience health problems related to their eyes than men–it has been estimated that two-thirds of all documented visual impairment occurs in women. There are multiple reasons for this harsh reality; women live longer than men, and experience different hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives, which can account for both eye health and sight problems.
Women are more likely than men to develop glaucoma, cataracts, dry eye syndrome, and Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). While a woman’s longer life expectancy may increase the likelihood of developing certain conditions, like AMD, other conditions are more likely to occur simply because of their gender.
Hormone fluctuations that happen over a woman’s lifetime can often affect her vision. For example, both pregnancy and menopause may increase a woman’s risk of developing dry eye syndrome, which is especially common in women. Women may also be more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, which can also negatively impact vision.
It’s important to note that an estimated 75% of visual impairment may be preventable by adopting healthy habits and maintaining regular appointments with your ophthalmologist. Many high-risk conditions can be caught early and treated easily. Because we understand that so many diagnoses of vision problems can be prevented, we work diligently to ensure we catch any potential issue in a patient’s eyesight before it becomes more serious. Scheduling frequent eye exams becomes increasingly important over the age of forty, but it is never too early to start taking care of your eyes–you only have one pair, after all.