According to a new study publishes on Prevent Blindness America’s website, women are much more susceptible to vision loss, including blindness than are men. This is mainly attributed to longevity (women generally have a longer life expectancy than men) but also to hormonal factors. In fact, studies done by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and the National Eye Institute (NEI) show that “of the more than 3.6 million Americans age 40 and older who suffer from visual impairment, including blindness, 2.3 million are women.”
Prevent Blindness America provides tips for women to keep their eyes healthy:
Get an Eye Exam– All women should make regular eye exams part of their health routine. PBA recommends everyone receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, if not earlier, and follow up care as recommended by an eye care professional.
Know Your Family History– Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Research your familys health history and notify your eye care professional of any eye diseases that run in the family.
Eat Healthy– A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also help guard against vision loss from eye disease.
Take Supplements– Antioxidants have been shown to actually reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including AMD. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health. Consult your physician before taking any vitamins or supplements.
Quit Smoking– Smoking, even second-hand smoke, increases the risk of eye disease.
Wear UV Eye Protection- When venturing outdoors,PBA recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses (labeled: absorbs 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays). UV rays are extremely dangerous to the eyes and have been linked to the development of cataracts and AMD later in life.
For more information on womens eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision, and the safe use of cosmetics, call 1-800-331-2020.