Womens Health & Vision Loss – Why April Matters
It’s an important month for us at Real Eyes Optometry. The Prevent Blindness organization declared April to be Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to bring awareness to the different eye needs for womens health. This campaign brings important attention to the fact that women are more likely to suffer from vision problems. Did you know women are also at a higher risk of permanent vision loss than men?
The reality is, 91% of the women surveyed recently didn’t know they were at an increased risk. This means that a majority of women are not taking the needed precautions to prevent eye damage and vision loss. With April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Metrotown Optometrists, Real Eyes Optometry, is providing resources and recommendations on the best ways to take care of women’s vision.
“These responses indicate an alarming lack of knowledge regarding women’s vision,” said Prevent Blindness volunteer adviser and spokesperson Dr. Mildred M.G. Olivier, a leading expert on women and minority eye health. “It’s apparent that a vast majority of women are unaware of the gender specific symptoms, conditions and risks associated with vision health.”
Shockingly, only 40% of women surveyed said they had visited an eye doctor within the past 12 months.
Important Womens Health Facts (What You Didn’t Know)
According to a recent study, the statistics for many of the major vision problems show that women have a higher percentage of incidence than men. These include:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration 65%
- Cataracts 61%
- Glaucoma 61%
- Refractive Error 56%
- Vision Impairment 63%
Perhaps more shockingly, one study found:
- 66% of those experiencing blindness are women
- 61% of those suffering with cataracts are women
- 65% of those with Age-Related Macular Degeneration are women (almost double that of their male counterparts)
- Data reveals that women suffer serious vision conditions at almost twice the rate of men
Curious for more facts? Learn more here
Women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions. In addition to being responsible for their own health, women are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse and aging parents.Prevent Blindness Organization
Womens Health: How Pregnancy Impacts Your Vision
Did you know? Expectant mothers should expect vision changes. In particular, women who have diabetes, or even gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy), should be visiting their eye doctor yearly. We all know women experience a wide range of changes during pregnancy, including nausea and body tenderness. However, most don’t realize how pregnancy affects a womens vision and at times, can affect the baby’s health as well.
Expectant mothers can experience dry eyes, blurred vision, or severe changes to vision. It is important for women to watch out for the following vision conditions:
- Blurred Vision: Minor vision changes while pregnant are common, if the changes are drastic, or are changing at a steady pace, then it’s important to see an Optometrist nearby.
- Dry Eyes: An Optometrist nearby can prescribe artificial tears, gels, ointments, vitamins and therapies to reduce discomfort. There are also technologically advanced, non-surgical treatments, like radio frequency, that have the added bonus of reducing wrinkles and signs of aging while improving dry eyes.
- Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes: Watch out for severe blurring, fluctuating vision, double vision, flashes or floaters in your vision, and any partial vision loss. These symptoms require immediate attention.
Best Rated Womens Health Tips: Optometrists recommend women wait approximately 6-9 months after giving birth before changing their prescription. This helps ensure that their eyes have fully adjusted prior to any prescription changes.
Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes should visit their eye doctor once per trimester to monitor their retinal health and to help ensure the correct steps are taken to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy (bleeding in the back of the eye). Diabetes-induced retinal damage can lead to permanent blindness.
Womens Health: 6 Easy Ways to Help Save Your Eyes
Taking steps to understand and reduce the risk of eye-related diseases can be important in preventing vision impairment and preventing eventual vision loss. Here are some simple points to help protect your health, eyes and eyesight:
- Ask your family about any history of eye diseases and conditions that may run in the family.
- Wear UV A + B blocking sunglasses when outdoors.
- Don’t smoke and limit second hand smoke exposure.
- Consume a healthy diet with proper nutrition, and if prescribed by your Optometrist, eye health supplements.
- Stick to a healthy eye and hand hygiene routine if you use contact lenses.
- Be conscious of any cosmetic precautions, and ensure high cosmetic hygiene standards for cosmetics that go in and around your eyes.
“It is imperative that we inform women about protecting their vision today in order to save sight for tomorrow,” said Leslie Bailey, Vice President of Prevent Blindness. “By creating the See Jane See program, we are able to provide a place where women can find current news and invaluable information that’s dedicated specifically to them and their needs.”
Womens Health & Vision Resources
In honor of April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, Metrotown Optometrists, Real Eyes Optometry has gathered expert resources and suggested recommendations on the best ways to support womens health and vision.
- National Eye Institute: 8 things you can do to protect your vision
- Canadian Association of Optometrist: How smoking when pregnant can harm your baby’s vision
- Prevent Blindness: Women and Eye Disease
- Real Eyes Optometry: 8 Tips to Prevent Digital Eyestrain | Take a Quiz to See if You have Symptoms
Speak to Your Eye Doctor and Take Measures to Protect Your Eyes
Real Eyes Optometry encourages you to reach out to the women in your life because once vision is lost, it often can’t be regained. The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear, as many eye issues are painless and symptomless. In some occurrences, by the time you notice symptoms, the vision loss may be untreatable.