Women have always had a one-up on men because it’s said that women live longer. But it turns out that living longer than men may not be something worth cheering for. It means women are much more likely to experience problems with their eyesight and even lose their sight before men do. What can be done to help women’s eyesight?
Eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts can all cause irreversible eye damage and vision loss. Since the chances of developing one of these diseases increase significantly the older you get, it’s much more likely for women to develop them than it is for men. There are also many other things women experience that men don’t which can cause changes in eye health.
Women go through an awful lot of body changes throughout their lifetimes. Those body changes are due to fluctuations in hormones. These continual hormonal changes can also have an effect on vision changes in women. In addition to age-related eye diseases, women are more prone to dry eyes than men due to hormonal changes brought on by birth control pills and menopause.
Besides the hormones themselves, there are also other health conditions that can be brought on by birth control pills. Some of these are strokes and blood clots, which can result in damage to the eyes. Menopausal women who are taking hormone replacements are also at higher risk for developing cataracts. All of these pose risks to women’s eyesight.
Nothing leads to more changes in hormones than pregnancy. Since hormones change so frequently during pregnancy, women can experience a lot of different eye health issues. Pregnant women who wear glasses may notice that their lenses aren’t as effective as they were before pregnancy. They may even need to retest the lenses and adjust their prescription.
Pregnancy can also cause women to experience dry eye syndrome as well as increased sensitivity to light. These symptoms can lead to chronic headaches and migraines, which can then lead to additional vision issues. Pregnancy can exacerbate diabetic retinopathy in women who are diabetic. Diabetes can actually cause a lot of vision problems itself, the worst of which is blindness.
Autoimmune Diseases and Women’s Eyesight
Women are much more likely than men to develop autoimmune diseases. These include lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, and others. These diseases can cause problems with eye health like blurry or cloudy vision, itchy eyes, dry eyes, double vision, and in some cases, even blindness.
What happens when women have an autoimmune disease and then get pregnant or experience other hormonal changes on top of those diseases? The vision problems they may already have due to the autoimmune diseases can become much worse or develop much faster.
Lack of Adequate Eye Care
Many of the eye diseases that affect women are treatable and sometimes even reversible if you catch them early. However, there are many women who, for one reason or another, do not get their eyes checked regularly. Whether it’s because they don’t have vision insurance or can’t afford to pay for eye exams out of pocket, or they are just neglectful of their eye health. Of course, poor vision care is a problem both men and women face.
Medical professionals state that early detection of eye problems is key in being able to properly treat diseases before they cause permanent damage or vision loss. It’s especially important for women over 40 to have annual eye exams as this is the age when many age-related eye diseases develop.
Preserving Your Eye Health
As long as women take proper care of their eyes, they shouldn’t fear losing their eyesight. Regular eye exams can go a long way in preventing your eyes from deteriorating. And taking other precautions can help keep your eyes healthy longer, too.
Everyone, no matter what age, should have regular eye exams. But when you hit the age of 40, that’s when eye exams become that much more important. Also, if there is a history of eye diseases in your family, your chances of developing those same eye diseases are increased. If you notice any changes in your vision such as blurry vision, eye pain, or you have any kind of eye injury, you should have your eyes checked right away. This is crucial to eliminate the possibility of any serious eye problems.
If you smoke, you should quit as soon as possible. Smoking causes many health problems and damage to your organs that can lead to issues with your eyes. The risk of losing your eyesight completely is increased if you smoke.
Take care of your body health to reduce the risk of vision problems. If you’re overweight or out of shape, consider starting a weight loss or workout plan. Losing weight so you can exit the obesity category is essential for preventing vision problems. This is because many vision problems are caused by health issues associated with being overweight. So if you decrease your chances of developing other health issues such as heart disease and diabetes, you greatly decrease your chances of developing eye problems as well.
Eating foods that are good for weight loss will also improve your eye health. You want to eat foods that are high in vitamin C, omega-3s, vitamin A, and any other food that is considered an antioxidant. These foods include oranges and berries, spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables, and fish and egg yolks just to name a few.
Tips for Improving Eyesight in Women
Here are some other tips for women to protect their eyesight:
- Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside to protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays from the sun.
- Never overuse your contact lenses.
- Always wash your hands well before handling your contact lenses to avoid eye infections and irritations.
- Pay attention to any changes in your vision or any eye problems you notice and go for an eye test as soon as possible
We can’t always control our hormones or the changes they cause. But, we can go above and beyond to care for our eyes. The better you take of yourself and the more aware you are of how your vision is changing, the healthier your eyes will stay and become.