Be kind to your eyes.
Many women know the importance of a regular doctor visit for themselves and their family. However, many of us don’t realize that a regular visit to the eye doctor is just as necessary as a visit to the family doctor.
Regular eye doctor visits for women are very important since women are more likely than men to suffer from eye problems, including the four leading causes of vision loss and blindness:
Woman are more likely than men to suffer from eye problems. (Source: “Women in any stage of their lives need a complete eye examination to preserve their sight,” Prevent Blindness Ohio 2006.)
- Cataracts – The clouding of the eye’s lens, which blocks the passage of light, could potentially cause vision loss.
- Glaucoma – Increased fluid pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve, also a leading cause of blindness.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – This condition generally occurs among older adults and can cause a loss of central vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy – Occurring in long-term diabetes, diabetic retinopathy damages the blood vessels nourishing the retina. Once new blood vessels form in the retina, they can leak fluid in the retina and bleed into the vitreous (middle part of the eye), which can cause vision loss.
Women’s health issues and vision
Several overall health conditions can affect vision in women:
- Diabetes – One in 10 American women over the age of 20 has diabetes, which increases risk for eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy and damage from ultraviolet (UV) light.
- Autoimmune diseases – Women are more prone to develop the following autoimmune diseases that can cause blindness or serious eye problems
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjorgren’s syndrome
- Breast cancer and other cancers – cancer treatments can potentially cause these eye conditions
that can cause blindness or serious eye problems:
- Bleeding in the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Dry and itchy eyes
Your vision and pregnancy
Did you know pregnancy can affect your vision and overall eye health?
Women who are pregnant may experience changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription, worsening of diabetic retinopathy and, in rare cases, blindness.
Pregnancy causes an increase in hormones, which may lead to changes in vision including refracting changes, dry eyes, puffy eyelids that cause murky side vision and sensitivity to light due to migraine headaches.
It is recommended that pregnant women with vision changes such as blurred vision and seeing spots consult an eye doctor, as these are signs of serious eye issues.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t have your eyes checked. A comprehensive eye exam, including dilation, is safe while you are pregnant.
Keep an eye out
Women make up two-thirds of the more than 3.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired. Early detection and treatment are the best ways to preserve vision.9
As a woman, you take care of a lot. Be sure to take the time to take care of your eyes with annual eye exams. Your eye health is too important to overlook.
Content shared from Prevent Blindness Campaign and Transitions Optical