Women and Eye Health: Assessing the Risks
- Posted on: Nov 15 2019
Like the teeth, the skin, and the rest of the body, the eyes need maintenance. Through every stage of life, it is necessary to know how eye health stands. This necessity only increases as we age. It is common knowledge that aging raises our susceptibility to eye diseases, some of which can significantly diminish eyesight. Furthermore, research suggests that women may face greater risks than men.
What Research Says
A study conducted by Prevent Blindness indicated that age-related macular degeneration affects more women than men. The same study also found that more women than men develop cataracts and glaucoma. Cases of visual impairment and blindness are also more commonly associated with women over 40 than with men in the same age range. This is just a matter of statistics. What is concerning about it is how little women seem to know of their risk:
- Less than 10% of the women in America know of their risk for eye diseases.
- Eight-five percent of American women believe that men and women share the same risks for permanent vision loss.
- Five percent believe men are more at risk for vision loss than women.
Why Women Are At Risk
Researchers offer a few potential reasons why women may be more likely to develop eye disease in their lifetime. These include:
- Statistically speaking, women tend to live longer than men. This factor alone will increase a woman’s chances of developing age-related conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
- Women’s hormones fluctuate more widely and more frequently than men’s. The changes that a woman’s body goes through are linked to vision problems and conditions like dry eye disease.
- Women typically take medication more readily and consistently than men. Some, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, can affect eye health over time.
- Habits like smoking aren’t limited to women, but research suggests that other lifestyle factors such as obesity may affect more women, especially as they age.
Managing Eye Health
All adults are encouraged to become aware of their eye health and risks for eye disease. Precautions and tips for managing long-term vision include:
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use.
- Have regular eye exams. Not just vision exams, but ophthalmic, dilated exams that observe the structures of the eyes.
- Use cosmetics wisely, throwing makeup out if an eye infection has occurred or as recommended by industry professionals. Wash makeup brushes and wash the face gently every day.
- Eat well. The foods that we eat play a role in every physiological function of the body. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables are vital to eye health, as are foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Posted in: Comprehensive Eye Care