April Is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month
According to the National Eye Institute, women represent two-thirds of all vision loss and impairment cases. While it’s important for everyone to be educated on eye health and how to preserve vision, many women tend to be the primary decision-makers of their households when it comes to health, medicine, and wellness. Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month serves as an opportunity to spread awareness and make sure women know everything they need in order to maintain healthy eyes and preserve their vision.
Women’s Eye Health and Age
Because women tend to have longer life spans than men on average, they are more vulnerable to developing age-related eye conditions, including:
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy
- Glaucoma, in which abnormally high pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in which the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates and impairs central vision
Hormonal Changes and Women’s Vision
Women go through several hormonal changes throughout their lives that can impact how their bodies function. For example, many post-menopausal women develop dry eyes. This is because, after menopause, the production of sex hormones such as estrogen and androgens becomes significantly reduced. As these hormonal levels decrease, tear production also decreases, which leads to dry eyes.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also lead to vision issues. Many pregnant women are at risk of developing high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, both of which can increase the odds of developing ocular or retinal problems. For example, women with unmanaged gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, or even retinal detachment.
Vision Health Tips for Women
Although women are at a higher risk of developing eye conditions and diseases, there are many things they can do to keep their eyes in good health, including:
- Understanding their risk factors
- Getting a dilated eye exam
- Eating a diet rich in eye-healthy nutrients
- Exercising regularly
- Managing underlying conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- Quitting smoking
- Wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days
- Always wear proper eye protection at work or during certain activities
Although Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month happens only once a year, it’s important that we practice healthy vision lifestyle habits and spread awareness all year-round. To learn more about women’s eye health, contact Austin Retina Associates today.