Taking care of your health can be hard, taking care of your eyes can be harder. Women’s eye health is especially important to be taken care of because 2/3 of blindness and visual impairment in the U.S. occurs in women.1 This is usually associated with the fact that women, on average, live longer than men.
In actuality, women aged 40 and older make up 2.7 million people that are visually impaired in the U.S.1 Age, however, it is but one factor that women have to be aware of when it comes to their eyes and their eye health. So, begin a good eye hygiene routine now to have healthier eyes later.
Part of a good hygiene routine is knowing what eye conditions you need to address and talking with your eye care professional to see what is best for you. Women should talk about their eye health and how they can improve it every day. One of the most common eye conditions and a leading cause of vision loss in women 50 and older is Age-related Macular Degeneration or AMD.2
AMD and Women’s Eye Health
In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision.2
AMD is caused by many factors besides age including race (Caucasians are at higher risk), family genetics, and smoking. Researchers also found links between AMD and certain lifestyle choices and suggest that people should make healthier choices such as exercising regularly, maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eating a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish to reduce the risk or to slow the progression of AMD.2
There are lifestyle changes that can slow AMD down or speed it up, but this is a chronic, degenerative, age-related disease and until we find the fountain of youth or figure out how to stop aging, dietary supplements that are modeled after the AREDS2 research, such as TOZAL®, may be our best way forward, according to Dr. Edward Paul Jr., OD, PhD. Visit “A Conversation with Dr. Edward Paul Jr.” to learn more about AMD.
Dry Eye Disease and Women’s Eye Health
Dry eye disease, or DED, is another common eye condition that greatly impacts women. We all are susceptible to DED, but women are disproportionately affected by DED, are diagnosed at a younger age, and experience more severe symptoms as when compared with men.3 Approximately 3.2 million women have moderate to severe symptoms of dry eye disease, as compared to 1.68 million men in the United States.4
Dry eye can occur when there is an issue with tear production or the drainage ducts in the inner corners of the eyelids that capture and drain excess tears. As we get older, tear production continues to decrease, oftentimes as a side effect to various medications, or due to windy and dry climates, which can expedite the evaporation of tears.5
Women’s eye health can change because of numerous factors, take some preventative measures to help reduce the risk.
There are numerous preventative steps women (and men) can take to increase their chances for healthier eyes:
- Avoid hair dryers, harsh winds, overly warm rooms, and cigarette smoke
- Use drops of artificial tears.
- When using a computer, remember to blink often and give your eyes a rest to avoid eye strain. Learn more here on how to relieve eye strain.
- Apply a warm washcloth to soothe irritated eyes, such as ComfortClear™
- Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
- Take nutritional supplements such as TOZAL or O3+Maqui
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses that wrap around the eyes and a brimmed hat outdoors.
- Learn of any family history of eye disease.
- Do not use harsh soaps or cleansers on around the eye area, instead try Zenoptiq
- Use eye cosmetics safely.
- Use contact lenses safely.
Up to 80 percent of blindness and visual impairment are preventable or treatable; therefore, prevention through education is one key to saving sight.3 Women’s eye health is worth saving, your sight is worth saving. Help yourself and the women in your life decrease their chances of blindness or vision loss by talking with them and visiting your eye care professional today!