Because women have higher rates of eye diseases and eye conditions than men, Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health organization, has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. The group provides free information to the public on various eye health topics, including vision issues, possible changes in vision during pregnancy, cosmetic safety and more.
Women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems, including:
- Dry Eye
- Refractive Error
The National Eye Institute states that 26 percent more women aged 12 and older have uncorrected visual impairment due to refractive error compared with men aged 12 and older. And, 14 percent more women aged 40 and older have refractive errors compared with men aged 40 and older. Additionally, women are also more likely to have autoimmune conditions, which often come with visual side effects.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for women, fluctuating hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the eye’s oil glands, which can lead to dryness. Estrogen can also make the cornea less stiff with more elasticity, which can affect how light travels into the eye. The dryness and the change in refraction can cause blurry vision and can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.
Pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. Women with pre-existing eye conditions, like glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, need to alert their eye doctor that they are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant).
Lastly, women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions and are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. It is important to remind women to make their own vision and eye health a priority to prevent unnecessary vision loss in the future.
Prevent Blindness recommends steps that should be taken to protect vision and eye health, including:
- Get regular eye exams
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
- Learn of any family history of eye disease
- Use cosmetics safely
- Use contact lenses safely
OCuSOFT Inc., a privately-held eye and skin care company dedicated to innovation in eyelid hygiene and ocular health, is partnering once again with Prevent Blindness in support of April’s Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month.
“Today, obviously there are significant challenges in maintaining overall health,” said Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “We want to remind women of all ages that there are many ways to protect the gift of sight today so that it can be enjoyed for many years to come.”