According to Blindness America, in its report titled “Vision Problems in the United States: Prevalence of Adult Vision Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America”, women are more prone to vision problems than men. The report states that women are at higher risk for eye disease after the age of 50, especially:
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
According to Prevent Blindness:
- Women form the majority of Americans over 40 with visual impairment or blindness
- 25% of women have not had an eye exam in at least 2 years
- 5% of women believe men are at greater risk of permanent vision loss
- 86% believe the risk is equal for men and women
- Less than 10% understand that they are at greater risk
To protect your eyes and reduce the risk of vision loss, here are 7 eye care tips for women:
- Understand Potential Risks – Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, autoimmune disorders, and thyroid problems increase the risk of eye disease. Know your family’s medical history. If vision loss, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts or glaucoma are common, you may have inherited these problems. Exercise regularly and get regular medical checkups if you’re overweight, since obesity can lead to diabetes and other conditions that affect eye health.
- Get the Right Nutrition – A balanced diet plays an essential role in women’s health, but certain foods are known to boost eye health as well. For instance, spinach, kale, broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables are loaded with lutein. This antioxidant may help protect against AMD, the leading cause of blindness. Other antioxidants such as vitamin C, E and A, minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential for eye health.
- Wear Protective Eyewear – Your eyes are extremely delicate, so it’s essential to protect your eyes from excessive UV exposure, accidents and other damage. Wear sunglasses that block out 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays, to reduce the risk of cataract and eye tumors. You should also wear protective eyewear to avoid eye injury while playing sports, swimming, cleaning with strong chemicals, or working with sharp tools.
- Care for Contact Lenses – A lot of women prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses, usually for aesthetic reasons or comfort. If you’re a contact lens wearer, follow a proper routine for cleaning, removing and replacing your lenses. Poor hygiene or over-wearing lenses can cause corneal scarring, which may lead to blindness. You can also opt for Lasik refractive surgery to get rid of both glasses and contact lenses permanently.
- Be Careful with Makeup – If you use eye makeup regularly, remove it at the end of the day. Sleeping with makeup on can clog your tear ducts or trap dirt and bacteria, leading to scratches, eye disease, and a host of other problems. Using eyeliners, mascaras and eye shadows past their expiry date can also cause eye irritation, allergic reactions and eye infection, so throw away old makeup and avoid sharing cosmetics with others.
- Watch for Vision Problems – Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also affect your vision. For instance, water retention can cause a change in your number or power, as well as puffy eyelids or dry eyes when you’re pregnant. Dry eyes are also common during menopause, along with redness or heaviness in the eyes or eyelids. Be aware of changes that may occur as you get older, and get a checkup if you face any problems.
- Get an Eye Exam Regularly – A comprehensive eye exam can help you prevent eye disease, eye infection and even vision loss, since early detection and treatment keep minor problems from turning into serious health concerns. Dilated eye exams may help with early detection of diabetes, high blood pressure and other medical conditions as well. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, get an eye exam every 1-2 years, and annually after the age of 50.
Women are caregivers, often looking after the family’s wellness before their own. However, it’s equally crucial to care for your own vision and health, so you can continue to care for your loved ones. Head to InSight Vision Center for a comprehensive eye exam today!