April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Did you know that more women suffer from visual impairments than men? Two-thirds of blindness occurs in women. Fortunately, 75% of visual impairment is preventable or at the very least, treatable.
More women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. It’s important for women to know the risks for eye-related diseases and vision impairment and there are some steps they can take to prevent eventual vision loss.
10 Tips for Women to Protect Their Eyes
Here are some ways that you can help to protect your eyes and save your eyesight:
Get annual eye exams.
It is essential for women to undergo annual eye exams with the potential for more frequent check-ups if they are in an age bracket with a higher risk of visual impairment or eye health issues that may increase their risk of developing eye problems. Women with occupations where eye health and safety may be at risk should also get their eye health routinely inspected to help prevent the chance for injury or impairment.
Find out about family history of eye diseases and conditions. Be sure to share all of this information with your optometrist.
Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses when outdoors. It is also a good idea to wear a brimmed hat too to keep your eyes shaded from the sun above.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome affects an estimated 3.2 million women in America. It is classified as itching, burning, and irritation in the eyes due to a lack of tears to lubricate and nourish the eyes. Without proper moisture, dry eye can result in damage to the frontal surface of the eyes. This can ultimately lead to impaired vision. Your best defense is to discuss dry eye with your doctor and stay informed of what your treatment options may be.
As we all know, smoking is bad for your health, but did you know it was also bad for your eye health? Smoking has been known to cause heart disease and lung cancer; however, many people don’t realize smoking can lead to vision loss too. Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome.
By consuming a healthy diet with proper nutrition and include special eye health supplements can also help women prevent eye diseases. You can talk to your eye doctor, and they can recommend certain foods and supplements that can help keep your eyes healthy.
It is essential to adhere to contact lens hygiene and safety. When the manufacturer and or your eye doctor suggests you don’t wear your contacts overnight or while you are sleeping, you should follow their suggestions. If you don’t take your contacts out, your eyes can develop something called corneal neovascularization. This means that your eyes are lacking in oxygen that they need to stay healthy.
It is also important that women adhere to cosmetic hygiene and safety precautions. Sleeping with your eye makeup on repeatedly may result in the clogging of the tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids. If these areas become clogged, bacteria can build up and cause inflammation, leading to other eye issues.
All electronic devices have a “blue light.” We need to protect our eyes against extended exposure to blue light from computers, smartphones and LED lamps. There are specific lenses out there that you can get if you spend most of your day working on the computer. Be sure to talk to your eye doctor about these lenses.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have diabetes, you should see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. In women who have diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can accelerate quickly during pregnancy and can also present a risk for the baby.
We encourage women to take care of their eyes not only during April, Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, but all year round. The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear! Many eye issues are painless and symptomless, and sometimes by the time you notice symptoms, vision loss is untreatable.
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