May is Healthy Vision Month so we wanted to talk about the specific health issues women face with their vision. Unfortunately, women are more susceptible to developing certain eye diseases than men. In fact, nearly 65 percent of blindness and other visual impairments occur in women. We’ve put together a list of the most common triggers and what to watch for. Always remember to see an optometrist if you’ve notice any changes to your vision.
Birth Control, Hormone Replacement Therapy and Fertility
Hormonal fluctuations during women’s lives negatively affect their vision. Medications related to controlling those hormones can negatively impact vision. Women who take birth control or on HRT can experience an increase in the risk for dry eye syndrome and cataracts. Other vision problems may be related to more serious side effects such as blood clots and strokes. Women who take fertility drugs may notice spots in their vision. Talk to your eye doctor if you experience these issues while taking birth control, HRT, or fertility treatment medications.
There’s no question a woman’s body changes during pregnancy, and your eyes are part of that change. Common vision health issues for pregnant women include dry eye syndrome, watery eyes, sensitivity to light, puffy eyes, and even a change in your eye prescription. Women who experience higher blood pressure during their pregnancy may experience blurry vision and retinal detachment.
Menopause means reduced estrogen levels in women which then reduces the mechanisms the body uses to keep vision healthy. Women undergoing menopause may experience dry eye syndrome and inflammation of the eye, otherwise known as uveitis. Additionally, medications to help treat or prevent breast cancer, can increase the risk of itchy eyes, eye bleeds, cataracts, and sensitivity to light.
Your family history dictates eye health. If you have family members that have experienced vision health issues, chances are you may develop some of these same diseases. For instance, a history of glaucoma in your family means a 4 to 9 times increase in chances you will also be affected. Regular check ups on your eyes can help detect the early stages of these diseases, leading to a more effective treatment plan.
One of the biggest reasons women statistically experience glaucoma, cataracts, and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) more than men is that women generally live longer. Taking care of your vision health as you age is important. Women should schedule visits with their eye doctors frequently to keep up with the changes they will almost certainly experience as they age.
Take action now to help your vision stay healthy.
- Stop smoking. One of the best things you can do for your overall health is not to smoke. Smoking tobacco can increase the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. In addition, cigarette smoke can irritate and dry out your eyes.
- Eat healthy. Eating healthy is also key to keeping your eyes healthy. Consume a diet that has the vitamins and nutrients your eyes need: dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, whole grains, and cold water fish.
- Get your eyes checked. Beginning at age 40, make sure you have a comprehensive eye exam annually to make sure your eyes are functioning at their best. Contact Metro Eye today for an eye exam.