We’ve seen the best of times, we’ve seen the worst of times. And we’re living in a time when “seeing is believing.” Yet, every day, people put their eyes at risk. And according to researchers, women in particular are more at risk than men.
Perhaps your eyes have felt irritated recently or you noticed blurry vision sometimes, and you’ve chalked it up to the new eye make-up, or restless sleep. Could it be that you’re taking your eyesight for granted?
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So What Do We Know?
• Two thirds of blindness and visual impairment occurs in women
• Three quarters of visual impairment is estimated to be preventable or correctable
• One third of age-related macular disease and cataract may be due to smoking
• Four fifths of blindness and visual impairment occurs in developing countries
In families today, women make many of the health care provider choices, and it is very important for women and family members to have their eyes examined regularly. It’s very important to catch early signs of these serious eye diseases. Remember, many diseases that cause vision loss are preventable or controllable, as is vision loss itself, and that is why examinations are important.
Causes of vision loss can be due to infection, trauma, birth defect, or chronic disease (like hypertension, diabetes, asthma). Looking at chronic disease, we know that hypertension and diabetes are rampant in certain ethnic and racial groups. We also know there are potential vision problems with poorly managed diabetes. In fact, many diseases of the body can manifest in the eye. For example, diabetes can result in diabetic retinopathy. What’s more, that may be the first sign of diabetes.
It is possible, however, to slow down the onset and progression of retinopathy. Studies also show that controlled blood pressure and cholesterol can reduce the risk of vision loss. So this means it is important to manage these conditions correctly with diet and medication when necessary.
Eye Diseases That Affect Women More
According to the National Eye Institute, the number of Americans with major eye diseases is increasing, and vision loss is becoming a major public health problem.