Did you know that two out of every three Americans who are visually impaired are female? According to Prevent Blindness America, women comprise 2.6 of the 4.1 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind. Since women are at higher risk for eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, they must be especially attentive to their vision health needs.
Here are four possible reasons women have a higher risk of vision loss:
- Hormones — Menstruation, pregnancy and menopause are all driven by hormones, and studies show that fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can affect vision. Hormonal changes may also contribute to dry eye syndrome and glaucoma, especially after menopause.
- Caregiving — Many women are caregivers of children and elderly parents. Often, providing care for others means self-sacrifice and putting one’s own needs aside, including health needs. Some women downplay their vision care because it seems less important than caring for their loved ones. But comprehensive eye exams are essential, especially after age 40. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a full eye exam with dilation once every two years for all individuals who are 40 and older.
- Life expectancy — Women have an average life expectancy of 80 years compared to 73 years for men. Because of this longevity, women are more likely to experience degenerative vision loss.
- Access to resources — Women, especially single mothers or elderly women, are more likely to have reduced availability of healthcare depending on where they live and how much they earn. Being uninsured, underinsured, or living in poverty limits ability to obtain quality eye care. (CIVGA).
May is Women’s Health Month, so make a commitment to yourself to get an eye exam. That way, you can do your part toward enjoying clear, healthy vision in your golden years. A full eye exam with dilation only takes about an hour, but the benefits last a lifetime.
During your eye exam, your eye doctor will evaluate your visual acuity and diagnose any refraction errors. You will get a full report on your eye health, and you will know whether you are at increased risk for visual impairment or vision loss. Early detection means early intervention, so call one of our ophthalmologists today.