April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month and the perfect time to create awareness of the fact that women suffer from more vision problems than men. It is also a great time to talk about the important steps that women can take to preserve their vision.
• Of the 4.1 million Americans aged 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind, more than half, 2.6 million of them, are women.
• Two-thirds of the world’s population of blind and visually impaired people are women.
A recent study by Prevent Blindness in America found that more women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, the four leading eye diseases in the US. The National Eye Institute believes that this may be due to hormonal factors and because of the fact that women live longer than men.
The good news is that it is possible for women to proactively care for their vision in order to protect it. Here are some of the things that you, and the women you love, need to know in order to maintain healthy vision.
1. Get your eyes checked! Just like scheduling regular doctor and dentist visits, you need to schedule regular eye exams. Early detection and treatment can prevent some common eye diseases that create vision loss or blindness.
a. According to the Centers for Disease Control, of the estimated 61 million US adults at high risk for vision loss, only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. That is compelling proof that regular eye care can have a life-changing impact on preserving and protecting your vision!
2. If you have diabetes you should have a dilated eye exam every year. You may be at higher risk for diabetic retinopathy. It can be prevented if you keep your diabetes under control and treated if detected early.
3. Early detection and treatment can prevent some common eye diseases, like glaucoma, from getting worse.
4. Other vision diseases can be slowed and treatments developed to enhance individual vision, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
5. Pay attention to changes in your vision. If you experience any of the following make an appointment to see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible:
a. Decreased or double vision
b. Draining, redness or eye pain
c. Seeing tiny specs floating in your field of vision
d. Seeing circles around lights
e. Flashes of light
In addition to regular eye exams there are ways to protect your vision during your daily activities:
• Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The nutrients in dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, carrots and other colorful foods are good for eye health.
• Wear sunglasses. Look for ones that are labeled “block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays”.
• Stop smoking. Smoking can damage your vision.
Our mission is to protect eye health and promote the highest levels of vision possible for all of our patients, especially those who have been told that nothing more can be done to improve their vision. Every day we work with those who have low vision or who are legally blind and we are able to lift their functional vision with a wide range of innovative medical devices and treatments. Call us. We can help.