Did you know women are more likely than men to experience eye-related health problems? Worldwide, two-thirds of visual impairments, including blindness, occur in women. According to the non-profit Women’s Eye Health:
- More than three-quarters of visual impairment is estimated to be preventable or correctable;
- A third of age-related macular disease and cataract may be due to smoking
- Four-fifths of blindness and impairment occurs in developing countries.
Visual impairment/blindness occur more often in women because women typically live longer than men; the non-profit Friends for Sight list other factors that may contribute to why women experience more eye problems than men:
- Birth control and hormone therapy may increase chances of dry eye or cataracts, and can cause strokes which lead to vision problems;
- Pregnancy can affect eyesight in a myriad of ways, from dry eyes to puffiness, to prescription changes or migraine headaches;
- Fertility drugs can cause vision spots;
- Menopause can cause eye inflammation (uveitis) and dry eye syndrome;
- Breast Cancer: Drugs used in treatment can increase risk of eye problems like cataracts and light sensitivity, among others;
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus, MS, and RA (among others) can affect eyesight and eye health.
Prevention for Eye Health
What can you do to protect your eye health? You can reduce or prevent vision issues by taking preventative steps, such as:
- A regular eye exam every year is always your first step to overall eye health!
- Eat a diet rich in eye-healthy nutrients like Vitamins C & E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and lutein; stay hydrated, and avoid sodium and caffeine.
- Quit smoking
- Pregnant? See your eye doctor and monitor vision changes