Women are particularly prone to eye disorders. Statistics show that 2/3 of all blindness and visual impairment occur in women. In fact, 2.7 million women age 40 and older are visually impaired.
There are several potential reasons that women have greater instances of eye disorder. Not only do they typically have a longer life span than men, but women also have increased risk for autoimmune disorders and age-related hormonal changes, among other things.
Fortunately, women can take proactive steps to protect their vision. By following these five tips, women can protect their eyes, their vision, and their lives.
- Get an annual dilated eye exam. During a routine eye exam, eye care professionals look for a lot more than just vision correction. They are also looking for medical eye concerns, so patients can benefit from early detection of certain diseases. Additionally, an eye exam can identify more than 25 medical conditions—including diabetes and heart disease—often before you even knows you have the disease. That’s why an annual eye exam is not just good eye care, but good wellness care as well.
- Wear sunglasses. UV light can increase your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. And that doesn’t mean summertime use only. Sunlight reflecting off the snow can be just as damaging. So be it beach, snow, or anything in between, if there is sunlight, there should be sunglasses.
- No smoking. Smoking has devastating effects on your lungs and heart, as well as your eyes. The least of the concerns is the negative effect smoking can have on dry eye syndrome. Even more concerning is the connection between smoking and blinding conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and optic nerve damage. Cut the cigarettes and protect your vision AND your health.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables. Study after study shows that foods rich in vitamins C, E, and B1 (thiamine) protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration. This includes green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, broccoli, red peppers, asparagus, avocado, kiwi, berries, citrus fruits, and guava in particular. Plus, a plant-rich diet reduces your risk for diabetes and diabetes-related conditions, including diabetic retinopathy.
- Use protective eyewear. More than 40,000 sports-related occur every year, and more than 2,000 workplace-related eye injuries occur every day! Additionally, there are 1.5 million home-related eye injuries each year. However, with the right eye protection, 90% of these injuries can either prevented or lessened in severity. When playing sports, handling chemicals, and even mowing the lawn, take precautions to protect your eyes and your sight.