Women’s healthcare has come to look quite different from their male counterparts. We might assume that women always received special care, but this tended to apply only to reproductive health. Today, healthcare providers are much more aware of the nuances of women’s physiology and how these can influence risks for various conditions. In our arena of ophthalmology, we see how women may have higher risks for various eye diseases, and we help them manage their risks with ongoing care designed around their needs.
Eye Conditions that Affect Women
All adults have some degree of risk for various eye diseases. However, scientific research has discovered that women tend to be more vulnerable to conditions that could affect their long-term vision and eyesight in general. These include:
- Refractive errors such as astigmatism
- Dry eye syndrome
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Vision loss
Why the Higher Risk?
Risk factors aren’t entirely different for women than they are for men. For example, all people have a risk of developing cataracts as a result of sun exposure. All people with a family history of eye disease like glaucoma have a risk of developing this condition. Beyond that, though, studies have concluded that women are more likely to develop one or more forms of eye disease in their lifetime simply because they live years longer than the average male. Another notable risk factor for women is the way in which their hormones change. Hormonal balance shifts every month during a woman’s cycle, then more aggressively during pregnancy and once again during perimenopause. According to studies, there may be a link between a woman’s decline of estrogen and testosterone and her susceptibility to ophthalmic conditions.
Maintaining Eye Health
A healthy lifestyle that is recommended for heart health, diabetes prevention, and even cancer prevention is also good for the eyes. This makes attending to eye health relatively easy. By consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, women receive vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support cellular health. If conditions like dry eye develop or a woman knows she has a higher risk for this condition, she may take an eye-health supplement, purchased over-the-counter at a pharmacy or health food store. Smoking should be avoided and, finally, women should see an ophthalmologist at least once a year for a full, dilated eye exam.
If you are interested in understanding your eye health risks and how you can support optimal eyesight, contact us at 847-677-2794. We’d be happy to schedule you a visit at our Skokie, IL office.