Studies now show that there is a gap between both sexes in regards to eye diseases and vision problems. Women are more likely than men to lose their vision or experience a variety of eye conditions. With the likelihood higher for females they need to be extra vigilant with their eye care. But, why are women more prone to eye problems than men?
1. Women make up 65% of age-related macular degeneration cases
One theory the AAO study suggests is that the reason the percentage of female AMD sufferers is higher than men's’ is directly linked to ageing. On average women live longer than men, which would result in a higher volume of women who will be diagnosed with AMD in their lifetime.
Read our blog post ‘What is age-related macular degeneration?’ here.
2. 61% of glaucoma and cataracts patients are women
Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing loss of sight over time, and Cataracts is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision.
3. 66% of blind patients are women
Age is not the only factor that is considered when discussing vision loss in women; social and economic factors play a part in this too.
Due to these factors, women’s access to eye care in developing countries is significantly smaller than other places in the world.
4. Dry-eye is more prevalent in women
Dry eye affects more women than men. Unlike other eye conditions, both young and old females suffer from dry-eye. Read more about dry eye here.
5. Women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men
It’s true. Lupus, Sjögren's Syndrome and Hyperthyroidism may all affect vision.
Pregnancy is something only females experience. Throughout pregnancy, a woman's body will not only go through physical changes but dramatic hormonal ones too. Changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention and blood circulation can all affect the eyes and eyesight during a woman’s pregnancy. For example, water retention may cause the thickness and curvature of the cornea of the eye to increase slightly.
Steps to take:
- Consider a comprehensive eye exam:
Professionals suggest that adults should have an eye exam at least every two years. With children, it is different, as they need regular eye exams to detect vision problems that may interfere with learning.
Around 40 years of age is when women should consider a comprehensive eye exam as this is the age when early signs of disease and vision change begin to appear. Your eyes can be professionally examined to catch conditions, if any, in their early stages.
- Do you know your family history?
Our family health history is something we should all be aware of. If cataracts, glaucoma, or blindness runs in your family, then making your eye doctor aware of this can benefit your own eye health in the future.
- Stop smoking
Studies show smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome. This step is not just for females - but for smokers in general.
- Healthy Lifestyle
A change in diet may also benefit your vision. By increasing vitamins such as omega-3, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc you will boost not your overall health but also your eye health. Discover a secret superfood that could stop you going blind here.
- Protect your eyes
Sunglasses are the best way to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, see our post on sunlight and your eyesight here.