How the Eyes Fit into Women’s Health Issues | Stuart P. Sondheimer, MD | Skokie, IL Women’s health issues are numerous and, for the most part, pretty well known. During the month of October, many people turn their awareness to breast cancer and the need for screening and suitable treatment options. Breast cancer is just one of so many health topics that are of interest to women. In addition to the familiar issues related to women’s health, we must also remember the eyes.

Eye care is typically the routine vision checks that a person has when she wears eyeglasses or contact lenses. This is the basic level of care. To only assess vision would be to potentially miss the early indications of eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and more. These are not benign conditions, and they are eye problems that seem to occur more in women as they age. The earlier that warning signs are detected, the better an experienced ophthalmologist can assist with eye health management.

Why the Risks?

It may seem odd to clump conditions like low vision, blindness, and cataracts under the umbrella of women’s health, but they belong there for the simple reason that women are at risk for them. The question that researchers have wanted answered is why. One of the potential answers comes down to lifespan. The average woman’s lifespan is years longer than the average man’s. That factor alone opens the window for more age-related health concerns. This makes sense, but not enough to explain the higher numbers in eye diseases among aging women.

Studies have also discovered a higher incidence of autoimmune disorders among women, as well as a correlation between the inflammation that occurs in such disorders, such as lupus, and general eye health. A final reason that research has proposed for women’s susceptibility to eye disease is the effects that shifting hormones have on the body as a whole.

Healthy Habits to the Rescue

As much as medicine has evolved over the years, we are also gaining significant benefits from the idea of prevention. While there is no way to completely eliminate risks for eye diseases and other medical conditions, studies continually point to healthy habits as a way to significantly reduce them. Some of the habits that support long-term eye health include eating good fats and antioxidant-rich foods or taking supplements and avoiding tobacco use.

SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

It’s never too late, or too early, to start getting comprehensive eye exams. To schedule yours, call our Skokie, Park Ridge, or Deerfield office at 847-677-2794



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