Did you know women are more likely than men to face eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma? To raise awareness for Healthy Vision Month this May, let’s talk about what women can do to save their vision.
Why are 65% of AMD patients, 61% of glaucoma and cataract patients, and 66% of blind patients women? A major reason in the US is that women live longer than men on average, and some of these problems are age-related. Another reason is that women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, many of which affect vision. Women are also twice as likely to experience dry eye symptoms, especially after menopause.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology 5 Recommendations to Help Women Take Control eye Health:
1. Get a Comprehensive Medical Eye Exam at Age 40
Early signs of eye disease may begin at this age. Some diseases don’t have symptoms you can notice on your own, so an eye exam by an ophthalmologist is the best way to catch them and treat them early.
2. Know your Family History
Some eye diseases can be inherited. For example, if you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50% chance of developing it. If you have family history of glaucoma, you can be 4-9 times more likely to develop it. Talk to your family members about their eye conditions and then share that information with your ophthalmologist.
3. Eat Healthy Foods
A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains benefits your entire body, including your eyes. Eye-healthy foods include citrus, vegetable oils, nuts, dark leafy greens, and fish such as salmon, sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel.
4. Stop Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts and AMD. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, makes dry eye worse.
5. Wear Sunglasses
Exposure to UV light raises the risk of eye diseases. Always wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.