According to the National Eye Institute, women account for two out of every three people who are blind or have vision problems. Furthermore, data from the Future of Vision, Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems study shows that women are more likely to develop certain eye diseases and conditions.We are celebrating April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month in an effort to educate the public about the increased risk for women and vision health issues, as well as preventive measures.
Women’s Eye Health and Safety: What to Know
Women are more likely than men to have major vision problems, such as:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration
- Autoimmune diseases. such as Lupus and Sjögren’s Syndrome
- Dry Eye
- Thyroid Eye Illness
- Error in Refraction
According to the World Health Organization’s World Report on Vision, women live longer than men on average, putting them at a higher risk of developing age-related eye conditions. Even after controlling for age,, global estimates indicate that women with moderate to severe presenting distance vision impairment, outnumber men by about 7%.
Gender and financial disparities can also obstruct women’s access to eyecare. According to a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, women are more likely than men to use eye care, but they are also more likely to report difficulty affording eyeglasses.
Women have unique health issues related to pregnancy and menopause due to fluctuating hormone levels, in addition to eye disease and conditions. During pregnancy, women’s ability to see clearly may change. Women who have pre-existing conditions such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, or diabetes should notify their eye doctor that they are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant). Furthermore, dry eye that leads to a clinical diagnosis or severe symptoms affects more than 3.2 million middle-aged and older American women.
As ophthalmologists and optometrists resume their practices following pauses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that women prioritize their vision health in order to detect vision issues early. Most eye diseases can be significantly reduced in severity if treated early and consistently.
We know that many women play an important role in the overall health of their families. We encourage them to take a moment today to ensure their own vision health and to help protect their eyesight in the future!
For more information on women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases and eye protection, please visit PreventBlindness.org.Prevent Blindness offers a free listing of financial assistance services in English and Spanish at: preventblindness.org/vision-care-financial-assistance-information/.
For more helpful eye care and vision care tips, please visit our main blog page.
Image by Mircea – All in collections from Pixabay