Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
We all know that men and woman are different, but did you know that there are gender differences when it comes to eye health? April is Women’s Eye Health Month.
Women are more likely than men to develop vision problems. One reason is that women live longer; another is hormonal changes with age. Women are more likely to develop cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye.
Not only are women at greater risk for many eye diseases, they are also at risk for several overall health conditions that impact their vision. These include:
- Diabetes – One in 10 American women over the age of 20 has diabetes (CDC). Diabetes increases risk for several eye diseases, diabetic retinopathy, most commonly, as well as cataracts.
- Gestational diabetes is rare and disappears post-pregnancy, but women who have experienced the condition have a 40-60% chance of developing diabetes in the next five to 10 years (CDC).
- Autoimmune Diseases – Women are more likely to develop several autoimmune diseases that can affect the eyes. These include:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjögren's syndrome
MS often causes temporary burning in the eyes or vision loss. Meanwhile, Sjögren's, which dries out moisture-producing glands in the body, causes severe dry eye. Of the one million people in the United States with Sjögren's, 90 percent are women.
- Breast and Other Cancers – Some cancer treatments can cause:
- Bleeding in the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Dry, itchy eyes
Some cancers can spread to the eye. It is important to have a regularly scheduled dilated eye exam after being diagnosed with cancer.
How to keep eyes healthy:
- Ditch the cigarettes. Smoking can result in fewer antioxidants in the bloodstream, which means less blood flow to the retina.
- Invest in good sunglasses. We recommend glasses with 100% UV filter and polarization that will protect the eyes from UVA and UVB rays that increase the risk of eye disease.
- Lose weight and exercise. Being overweight raises your risk of eye disease. Exercise is good for your heart and eye health.
- Eat a well balanced diet, including fish and green leafy vegetables.
- Make sure you are having your eyes check by your optometrist on a regular basis