Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April is women's eye health and safety month

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month.

Why have a special month just to highlight women's eye health and safety issues?  Because women are more susceptible than men to vision problems and diseases because they live longer, making age-related vision diseases a concern.  Women also have more hormonal factors that can impact vision and eye health. 

More women than men receive diagnoses of eye diseases or conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, Fuchs’ dystrophy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and Sj√∂gren’s syndrome. A study from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute titled “Vision Problems in the U.S.” found that of the more than 3.6 million Americans aged at least 40 years who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, 2.3 million are women - a stunning 64%.

It is important for both men and women  to take the necessary steps today to keep their eyes healthy in the future as they age.  However, women must be more vigilant because they have a greater risk of vision loss than men, and they face different risks than men.

Here are some tips that Prevent Blindness America (which the optometrists at Vision Source Vancouver completely agree with) has published that will women to keep their eyes healthy:

Get an eye exam. An annual eye exam is an easy routine and can make a big difference in your eye and overall health.

Know your family history. Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Recommend that your patients research their families’ health histories and notify you of any eye diseases that run in their families.

Eat healthy. A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids also can help guard against vision loss from eye disease.

Take supplements. Antioxidants have been shown to reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C, and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health.

Quit smoking. Smoking, even second-hand smoke, increases the risk of eye disease.

Wear ultraviolet (UV) ray eye protection. When venturing outdoors, PBA recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses.  This is where eyeglass wearers have an edge of those who get LASIK or those who have perfect vision.  Almost all lenses on the market in North America have 100% UV protection.  That means that an eyeglasses wearer is protected all the time, even if they are not wearing sunglasses.

We have done a number of posts on women's eye health issues lately.  You can check them out at the following links: