More than 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, and the majority — 2.3 million — are women, according to National Eye Institute.
Prevent Blindness has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, a time to spread awareness about the eye health issues facing women.
Women are at a higher risk for vision loss from such diseases as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, and because the life expectancy for women is increasing, the rate of eye diseases is, too. In general, women are also more susceptible to autoimmune diseases that can affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyperthyroiditis.
Other factors that can increase the risk for vision problems in women include:
- Poor nutrition
Berkeley Eye Center would like to join the National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America this month to help encourage women to care for the health of their eyes.
Women often undergo vision changes during different stages of their lives. For example, hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can lead to dry eye syndrome, and fertility treatments may cause light sensitivity due to migraines, dry and puffy eyes, and changes in eyesight.
As always, we want to encourage women (and men, as well!) to make it a priority to have an annual eye exam. A dilated exam is essential in maintaining the health of your eyes.
Other steps women can take to protect their vision include:
- Quit smoking
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses
- Use contact lenses safely
- Use eye makeup safely
- Find out if you have a family history of eye disease
So in honor of Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, schedule a routine eye exam with a Houston optometrist at Berkeley Eye Center if it’s been more than a year and encourage the women in your life to do the same.