Because many eye diseases are diseases of aging and women tend to live longer than men, women are the primary candidates for eye health issues. Of the 3.4 million people in the U.S. who are visually impaired, nearly 68% are women.
Neena Haider, co-director of the Women’s Eye Health organization, said many women focus on caring for others at the risk of their own health, leaving them vulnerable to eye health issues because they delay their own important health check-ups. The earlier an eye problem is detected, the better chance for a favorable outcome, which is why it’s so important for women and others to get regular eye exams.
Women’s changing hormones also can contribute to eye problems. Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can lead to pregnancy-induced hypertension or diabetes and both can cause blurred vision. After menopause, decreased hormones are believed to contribute to an uncomfortable condition called Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome can often feel as if your eyes are scratchy and burning, as well as having a sensitivity to light.
Ophthalmologist Thomas Henderson, M.D. explains, “For many serious problems of the eyes, there are no symptoms. This allows insidious progression of the problem until it is very serious and vision threatening. Yearly exams are the only way to detect these problems at their earliest and most treatable stage when serious loos of vision can be prevented.”
Whether the cause is hormonal or just aging, an annual eye exam is the only way for an eye doctor to track your eye health and ensure an early diagnosis.