As surprising as it may seem, women are at a greater risk of vision loss and eye diseases as compared to men. Research has shown there are gender-specific symptoms, conditions, and risks associated with vision loss. More women than men have cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
Most of the eye diseases and even vision loss can be prevented with early detection and proper treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the possible reasons for women being at a higher risk than men and few useful tips to maintain a healthy vision.
Why are Women at a Higher Risk than Men?
Listed below are some of the possible reasons as to why women are at a higher risk of acquiring eye diseases as compared to men:
- Longer Life Expectancy–Women have an average life expectancy of around 80 years as compared to men who live for an average of 73 years. Because of a longer life expectancy, women are more likely to suffer from degenerative vision loss. Also, many eye diseases are age-related such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
- Self-Neglect – A majority of the women are primary caregivers to children and in many cases elders. Their caregiving responsibilities often mean that they sacrifice their own needs including health needs. Vision care is the most neglected in such situations as caring for their loved ones is more important to them.
- Hormonal Changes – Women experience hormonal changes across their lifespan. Menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, post menopause – are all driven by hormones. Studies have shown that fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone can affect vision. For instance, the dry eye syndrome which is believed to be associated with hormones is two to three times more common in women than in men. Expecting mothers may also experience blurry vision due to hormonal changes.
- Social and Economic Factors – Easy access to quality eye health care is crucial in preventing vision loss since blindness and vision impairment can be prevented through early detection and treatment in some conditions. The frequency, quality, and accessibility of health care to women are affected by their social and economic factors. Thousands of women have poor access to health care systems, especially eye health. As a result of which, many of them are at a higher risk of acquiring eye diseases.
Tips for Preserving Your Eye Health
The simple yet effective tips listed below can help you maintain a healthy eyesight and keep eye diseases and vision loss at bay:
- Undergoing comprehensive eye exams regularly, especially after the age of 40 is the simplest preventive measure you can take to preserve your vision. Such eye exams may comprise a vision evaluation, dilation of pupils to check the health of optic nerve and retina, screening for glaucoma Your ophthalmologist may also take a look at your medical history, your family’s health history to determine your risk for eye diseases.
- Quit Smoking. Tobacco consumption in any form is harmful to your overall health, including vision. If you find it difficult to quit smoking, seek the help of support groups.
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins such as A, C, and E, lutein, beta-carotene, zinc,omega-3 fatty acids and zeaxanthin which promote healthy vision. Limit your alcohol intake. Avoid sodium and caffeine as much as you can to keep your eye health in good condition.
- If you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, it is advisable to get a full dilated eye exam especially if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Learn about the possible vision changes during pregnancy to prepare better for those changes.
- Use eye makeup with caution. Don’t forget to remove the eye makeup before you go to sleep.
- If you are using contact lenses, ensure that you follow all the usage instructions strictly. Clean them as instructed regularly.
- Always wear good quality sunglasses and a brimmed hat when stepping out during the day.
Don’t take your vision for granted. Make your vision your priority and encourage your mom, daughter, niece, aunt and female friends to take a comprehensive eye exam today.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs with a mission of informing readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care and eye health. He loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.