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Studies show that women face greater risk of blindness than men 5/17/2018

Studies show that there is a gender gap in ocular disease. Women are more prone than men to suffer conditions that threaten vision such as age related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

In support of Healthy Vision Month in May, CODET Vision Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind women and men to make their vision a priority.

According to studies by the National Eye Institute, women represent 65% of age related macular degeneration cases, 61% glaucoma and cataract cases, and 66% of blind patients. Why the inequality? There are some theories. On average, women live longer; a lot of ocular problems are related to age. Some ocular pathologies, such as dry eye, are more common in women, the youth, and older people. Social and economic factors affect women’s access to ophthalmological care, specially in developing countries. Whichever the cause, there are some unique vision problems that women must take into account more than men. Dry eye occurs double the rate in postmenopausal women.

Generally speaking, women are more prone to autoimmune disease than women, many of which affect vision such as lupus, Sjögren syndrome, and hyperthyroidism. Besides, pregnancy can cause changes in vision due to hormonal fluctuations. The good news is that most vision loss can be prevented.

CODET Vision Institute and the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers five simple steps to take control of your visual health today:

1. Visit the ophthalmologist once a year. A test performed by an ophthalmologist is an opportunity to carefully examine the eye in search of diseases and conditions that may not have symptoms in their first stages.

2. Know your family history. Certain ocular diseases can be hereditary. If you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have 50% probability of developing this disease. A family history of glaucoma increases your glaucoma risk from four to nine times. Talk to your family members about their ocular conditions.

3. Eat healthy food. A low fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grain diet benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Healthy food options for the eyes include citric fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole nuts, dark leafy green vegetables, and cold-water fish.

4. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of ocular diseases like cataract and age related macular degeneration. Smoking can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases that can influence indirectly in your eye’s health. Tobacco smoke, including second hand smoke, can also worsen dry eye.

5. Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet light exposure increases the risk of ocular diseases which include cataracts, pterygium, and cancer. Always wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection and a hat while enjoying your time outside.

Vision exams are not only about your or anyone’s visual sharpness but about the general health of your eyes. We encourage all women, as well as men, to get regular ocular care. By making your vision a priority today, we can help to protect our vision as we get older.

 

Source: National Eye Institute and American Academy of Ophthalmology

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