National Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Women's Eye HealthQuick fact: The fourth month of the year is thought to be named after Aprhrilis, derived from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite.

In addition to paying homage to the goddess this month, April is also devoted to celebrating another aspect of womanhood.

Prevent Blindness America designates April as National Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, dedicated to spreading awareness of various eye health issues facing women around the world. This is in response to increasing evidence that women are affected by blindness and visual impairment to a much greater degree than their male counterparts. This is true whether at home or in need of better eye health at work.

At Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center, we spread awareness about the eye health issues that affect individuals of all ages and gender the whole year ’round. This month, we dedicate this quick guide to optimum eye health for women.

Why More Women Tend to Suffer Vision Loss Than Men

A huge chunk of vision problems are age-related such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Since women tend to live longer than men, it’s quite common to see women suffer from vision loss as they age.

Next to age, vision problems can also arise from hormonal issues. To illustrate this point, dry eye syndrome is more common after menopause, affecting over 3.2 million American women who are middle-aged and older.

Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis affect women three times more than men. Issues with vision are one of the serious side effects arising from this condition. Women tend to look after the well-being of their family, to their own detriment. As a result, women tend to overlook their own health, including their vision, when taking care of their families.

A sudden surge in hormones during pregnancy may result to changes in vision. These include dry eye, refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment due to high blood pressure, and puffy eyelids. While most of these conditions are temporary and will disappear post-delivery, expectant women should be aware of the signs and symptoms indicating a serious problem.

Quick Guide to Optimum Vision For Women

Remove contact lenses before taking a bath, shower, swimming, or any activity that involves water getting in your eyes. Dispose your contact lenses and buy a new pair if water comes in contact with your eyes while wearing them. This will help prevent acanthamoeba keratitis resulting from exposure of your contacts and eyes to water that is contaminated with the amoeba Acanthamoeba.

Women are more likely to wear cosmetic contact lenses. Vision problems can arise though when these lenses are bought without prescription at beach shops, boutiques, and non-professionals. If you wish to wear these fashionable lenses, it is always best to consult with a licensed eye care professional first. If possible, do not wear contact lenses without the supervision of an eye care doctor. Also, never trade or share your contact lenses with your girlfriends.

Wash your hands first before putting on eye makeup. Keep all applicators clean and in good condition. If possible, do not reuse old applicators and opt for disposable types instead. Most importantly, do not ever sleep with your eye makeup on.

Most women carry makeup in their purse or leave them inside the car. Kick this habit as soon as you can because extreme temperatures can break down the preservatives and make room for bacteria to grow. You do not want to dab bacteria into your eyes.

Improving Visions – Reducing Bad Habits

Lifelong good nutrition is a key influencer of good health including your vision. Dark green vegetables have been shown to potentially reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). While kale may be the first leafy green on your mind, here’s a list of other leafy greens you can include on your next trip to the supermarkets.

Go cold turkey. Apart from the reducing your risk of a whole host of diseases such as cancer and respiratory issues, smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor for AMD development and progression.

Eye Health for Women – Combating Eye Disease

Expectant women with diabetes should see their eye doctor during pregnancy due to higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Poor control of blood sugar levels and elevated blood pressure levels can increase your risk of blindness resulting from cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. Aim to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels within normal range by keeping tabs of your health numbers and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Wear proper eye protection if your work involves high risks of eye injury.

Visit your licensed eye care doctor for a dilated eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration can be detected during a comprehensive dilated eye exam because it allows your doctor to check for leaking blood vessels, unusual changes in the lens, and damage to nerve tissues.

Got a burning question on eye health issues that plague women? Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment. Our wonderful team are committed to helping women (and men) of all ages maintain optimum eye health.

For more information on eye care, check out our post 6 Tips for Eye Health.

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