A Woman’s Guide to Enjoying Better Vision

There are different reasons behind women experiencing greater instances of eye disorders.
Young woman relaxing at home with a tablet and coffee

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there is a gender gap in eye disease. Women are more likely to suffer from eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and blindness.

Your eyes are your windows to the world. With good vision, you can see more milestones, watch more movies (marathon all the Disney princess in order!) and live life to the fullest. So it’s best to steer clear from vision problems.

There are different reasons behind women experiencing greater instances of eye disorders.

Some common culprits are:

  • Hormone changes. There are select eye diseases that happen more in women compared to men. These tendencies are often related to hormonal changes. The changing hormone levels that occur during pregnancy or menopause can affect the production of tears, which leads to dry eye syndrome. Also, the surge in hormone levels can trigger temporary changes in the clarity of your vision. As a result, some women get Visian ICL surgery or other eye disorder procedures.
  • Macular degeneration. Since most women live longer than men, they are at higher risks for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition affects the back of the eye (retina). AMD occurs when the cells within the macula malfunction over time or stop working. Also, AMD can either be “wet” or “dry,” with most AMD cases being “dry.” The highest incidence of AMD occurs for women aged 60 years old and above; however, younger women are still at risk. Family history, race and lifestyle increase your risk for AMD.

What Are the Common Eye Disorders Women Experience?

Once women go beyond the age of 40 years old, they experience blurring vision and become more prone to age-related eye diseases. It’s a normal occurrence since aging is natural. The retina needs more light as you age and changes within the lens will become more pronounced. Most of these conditions are mere nuisances. But many progressive sight stealers can lead to blindness.

Some of the most common eye problems women experience are:

Cataracts

The eye has natural internal lenses that focus light on the eyes. Over time, however, these lenses become yellow and cloudy, forming a cataract. The cataract blocks the light, which makes it difficult for you to see clearly.

Glaucoma

This eye condition causes damage to your optic nerve. It is also the second-leading cause of blindness in the US. Damage occurs when the pressure builds up in your eye.

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of glaucoma that affects both men and women. However, women are four times more likely to experience close-angle glaucoma, which is the more dangerous form of glaucoma. Since women’s eyes are smaller compared to men’s, the fluid drains slower from their eyes, which increases the pressure.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes causes the swelling of blood vessels in the back of the eyes, which leads to leaking and swelling. As a result, women experience vision loss, as well as a condition called diabetic retinopathy.

How to Protect Your Eyes

Fortunately, women can take proactive steps to protect their vision. Consider the following ways you can care for your eyes, vision and lives:

  • Schedule an annual eye exam. During routine eye exams, ophthalmologists look for more than vision correction. They also look for medical eye concerns to prevent patients from experiencing certain diseases in the future. Most eye exams can identify more than 25 medical conditions, which include heart diseases and diabetes. For these reasons, scheduling an eye exam is not just good for your eyes; it improves your overall wellness, too.
  • No smoking. Smoking affects your heart and lungs, as well as your eyes. In terms of your vision, smoking can cause, if not exacerbate, dry eye syndrome. Even more concerning is the connection between smoking and vision problems like optic nerve damage, AMD and cataracts.
  • Wear sunglasses. UV light increases your risk for macular degeneration and cataracts so when needed, wear sunglasses. This doesn’t mean summer use only. Sunlight can also reflect off the snow and damage your eyes. So, whether you’re at the beach or enjoying the snow, always bring sunglasses with you.
  • Use eye drops when needed. As mentioned, dry eye is a symptom of hormonal changes or a side-effect of smoking. To prevent your eyes from drying up, lubricate them with over-the-counter eye drops. Humidifiers can also keep natural moisture in the air, preventing dry eyes.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Apart from wearing sunglasses to block out UV rays, you can also wear protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries while swimming, playing sports, working with sharp tools or cleaning with strong chemicals.
  • Be careful with your makeup. If you use eye makeup regularly, always remove it at the end of the day. Sleeping with makeup traps bacteria and dirt or clogs your tear ducts, which leads to eye disease, scratches and other eye problems.

Your eyes are your windows to the world. Continue appreciating your surroundings by caring more for your eyes!

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