In addition to being more likely to suffer from vision impairment, blindness and other vision problems, there are a number of other troubling statistics regarding eye health in general and in women:
- Approximately 37 million people worldwide are blind, and in the US, over 1 million are legally blind.
- In the US, over 700,000 women are legally blind.
- Worldwide, 124 million people suffer from low vision.
- In the United States, 3.5 million people experience some type of visual disorder, of which 2.3 million are women.
- As many as one-third of cases of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD or ARMD) are linked to smoking.
RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING VISUAL PROBLEMS OR BLINDNESS
One theory about why women are at greater risk of eye disease is that women typically live longer than men, thus experiencing more aging, including degeneration of vision. Biological causes are also suspected in the predisposition of women towards vision loss and impairment. Although more research needs to be done, the increased risk for vision and eye health problems may be due to the hormonal changes women experience as they move through menopause.
In the United States, the primary risk factors for developing vision impairment include age, smoking, poor nutrition, and obesity. These are also common risk factors for a number of other diseases and illnesses, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In fact, developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes also increases the risk for eye disease.
THE MOST COMMON EYE DISEASES IN WOMEN
Women may suffer from any number of eye diseases, but the most common are:
- Dry eye syndrome: Chronic dryness and irritation of the eyes due to lack of enough lubrication or moisture over the surface of the eye.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD): The deterioration of the macula — the part of the retina at the back of the eye, which is necessary for sharp, clear, central vision.
- Cataracts: The clouding of the lens of the eye, behind the iris and pupil. Cataracts are the most common cause of blindness in the world.
- Glaucoma: Disease of the optic nerve, but also most commonly associated with high pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or ocular hypertension).
PREVENTION OF EYE DISEASE
If you are a woman and concerned about your vision, the best way to prevent eye disease, reduce your risk of developing eye problems, and to treat existing problems is to schedule and keep regular appointments with your Silverstein Eye Centers eye doctor. Your eye doctor is specially trained to diagnose and treat not only known eye problems, but to also evaluate your eyes for signs of possible future problems.
Not only will keeping your eye check-ups help you keep your eyes healthy, but doing so may also benefit you in other ways. For example, those who suffer from headaches, eye strain, or fatigue who also have vision problems are more likely to miss work than those who don’t suffer from these conditions. Your eye doctor can help you learn to cope with these issues, as well as offer guidance on how to manage such complaints if they recur. Your eye doctor may also make recommendations for diet, exercise, medications, or glasses or contacts to help improve your eye health.
To learn more about more about eye disease and women, or to discuss any other eye concerns or to schedule an examination, call your Silverstein Eye Centers specialist today at (816) 358-3600. We look forward to seeing you soon.