On average, women live five years longer than men. However, a woman’s increased life expectancy has serious health implications, especially when it comes to eye health. Age is a significant risk factor for eye diseases, including glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. Women are more at risk for eye conditions than men, yet only 10% are aware of this concern.
What Eye Problems Can Women Experience?
Aging women are likely to be at risk of the following vision-related problems:
- Glaucoma is an eye condition that can damage the optic nerve when pressure builds up in the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma and can affect both men and women. However, women are two to four times more likely to experience closed-angle glaucoma, a more dangerous form of the disease. Women’s eyes tend to be smaller than men’s. Thus, fluid drains more slowly from their eyes, increasing pressure in the eye.
- Cataracts block light and make it difficult for people to see. The eye has a natural internal lens that focuses light on the eye. Over time, it may slowly become cloudy and yellow, eventually forming a cataract. One way that can increase the risk of developing cataracts is smoking. Eye doctors have found that smoking cessation can reduce the need for cataract surgery.
- Macular degeneration is the number one cause of vision loss for people over age 40. This condition attacks the central part of the retina, damaging vision. While experts have not identified a cause for macular generation, they have found that genetics can be a contributing factor. If there is a case of macular degeneration in your family and you notice a change in your vision, you should schedule a visit to an eye doctor as soon as possible.
What Can Women Do to Preserve Their Vision?
Regardless of gender, the best way to preserve your vision is by taking a preventative approach to eye care. For starters, this means eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3s and zinc. Your doctors would also recommend quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake.
Another great way to minimize your risk of eye disease is to see your doctor regularly. Scheduling an eye exam once a year helps your doctor detect early signs of eye diseases. This way, your doctor can provide effective treatment to preserve your vision. For instance, if you have developed glaucoma, your doctor can prescribe eye drops to lower eye pressure.
At Insight Vision Center Optometry, we provide comprehensive eye care services, from eye exams and contact lens prescriptions to ortho-k and vision therapy. Give us a call at (714) 486-3315, or fill out our online contact form to set an appointment. Our service areas include Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, CA.