EVERY year, more women than men are diagnosed with eye diseases and conditions, such as cataracts, dry eye, Fuchs’ dystrophy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and Sjoren’s syndrome.
The “Vision Problems Blindness America (PBA) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) shows that of the more than 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, 2.3 million are women.
Women are more susceptible to vision issues due to longevity, as well as hormonal factors, according to the NEI.
PBA provides tips for women to keep their eyes healthy:
Get an eye exam – All women should make regular eye exams part of their routine. PBA recommends everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, if not earlier, and follow-up care as recommended by a eye care professional.
Know your family history – Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Research your family’s health history and notify your eye care professional of any eye diseases that run in the family.
Eat healthy – A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also help guard against vision loss from eye disease.
Take supplements – Antioxidants have been shown to actually reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including AMD. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health. Consult your physician before taking any vitamins or supplements.
Quit smoking – Smoking, even secondhand smoke, increases the risk of eye disease.
Wear UV eye protection – When venturing outdoors, PBA recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses (labelled: absorbs 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays). UV rays extremely dangerous to the eyes, and have been linked to the development of cataracts and AMD later in life.