April is Women’s Eye Health Month

Bright Blue Eye Close UpWhile it is true that women and men are equal, deserving of equal rights and opportunities, when it comes to health issues, the two genders are not the same. Women are more likely to die after a heart attack, develop osteoarthritis, suffer a stroke, and show signs of depression and anxiety than are men. And in the United States, 64% of blind or visually impaired persons are women.

There are a few important reasons why more women than men in the United States lose their vision. They include:

  • Longevity – people tend to have more issues with their eyes as they age; and women statistically live longer than men
  • Pregnancy – hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy can cause changes in vision
  • Autoimmune diseases – women have higher incidences of lupus, multiple sclerosis, and other autoimmune diseases than men; many of these disease cause dry eye

In some other countries, there are a number of cultural reasons that women may not be as likely as men to get proper health care, which can lead to preventable eye diseases causing unnecessary eye problems. For example, laws restricting a woman’s right to travel without a male escort limits their ability to pursue medical care. Women may also not have the same access as men to the proper nutrition needed to support ocular health.

The National Eye Institute has put together this list of simple tips for healthy eyes that are applicable to both women and men. Diet, weight, and use of tobacco are all factors in ocular health. Prevention is an important first step in the fight against eye disease, and early detection of diseases such as glaucoma can help prevent significant vision loss.