Women have a higher risk for some eye diseases. To keep eyes healthy, women should take note of the following conditions.
Even something as ordinary as using cosmetics can cause eye irritation. Most women can relate to jabbing themselves in the eye with a mascara wand or other cosmetics tool. Besides being extremely irritating or painful, your eyes are very delicate and these accidents, while not usually serious, can cause lasting irritation and/or damage.
If discomfort from such an accident persists, see your eye doctor.
Women are more likely than men to develop this eye disease as they age. Glaucoma causes gradual, ongoing damage to the optic nerve. Women are also the gender more likely to become visually impaired or blinded by the disease, so it is important to have your eyes checked regularly.
Glaucoma can be treated with daily eye drops and/or laser surgery.
Cataracts, a clouding of lenses in the eyes, are also a bit more common in women than in men as we age. Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Poor night vision
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Seeing halos around light sources
- Requiring more lighting to see
- Needing to change prescription lenses frequently
- Colors that seem paler, faded or washed out
- Double vision in one or both eyes
Cataracts can be removed surgically.
Dry eye is an uncomfortable condition that becomes more common as we age. Women are more prone to developing dry eye due to hormonal changes after menopause. It can usually be treated with over-the-counter or prescription lubricants but a severe case of dry eye may require surgery to reduce tear drainage.
To prevent dry eye, follow these tips:
- If you wear contacts, always follow the user guidelines and avoid wearing them longer than recommended
- If you are planning to have Lasik or other refractive surgery, talk to your eye doctor about a dry eye treatment
- Some medications may increase dry eye symptoms. Your eye doctor can advise you if anything you’re taking could be contributing to dry eye.
- A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent dry eye or reduce symptoms
- When outside, protect your eyes with wrap-around sunglasses and avoid arid, dusty or windy conditions.
Diabetes can increase the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy and other eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy affects the light sensing part of the eye. Early signs of eye damage may cause sensitivity to light, difficulty telling colours apart and night-vision issues.
Women are more likely to develop an autoimmune disease that will affect their eye health. Lupus, multiple sclerosis and Sjogren’s syndrome can all affect your vision. Lupus can cause dry eye and inflammation and multiple sclerosis can eventually lead to vision loss.
Sjorgen’s syndrome dries up many of the moisture producing glands in the body, including the ones that protect your eyes.
Serious eye problems can be avoided by eating healthy foods, exercising and getting enough sleep. Regular eye exams are the best way to find out if you might be at risk for an eye disease and early detection is important if treatments are to be effective.