Women’s health is comprehensive. It is complex due to the hormonal changes the body goes through on a monthly basis, let alone over many decades. When we think about women’s health, the mind usually goes straight to breast and reproductive issues and how to prevent or treat them. Because of our area of specialization, we recognize the unique challenges that women face as it relates to their eyes, as well. Here, we discuss why women’s health must be more expansive so that the women we love can continue to lead vibrant lives.
Eye Conditions that Affect Women
Eye diseases can affect men and women of all ages. However, research has indicated that adult women tend to have higher instances of the following:
- Dry eye syndrome
- Vision disruption from refractive errors and other conditions
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Vision loss
Why are Women At Risk?
There may be several clues as to why women may have higher risks for various eye diseases, though none may be completely correct. What scientific data tells us is that there are often a combination of factors influencing women’s eye health. Many women have a family history of one or more eye diseases. Women’s hormonal shifts also contribute to a multitude of biological functions, ranging from ovulation to the production of a healthy tear film. Some data has pointed to the drop in estrogen and testosterone during perimenopause and menopause as a significant factor in the development of dry eye syndrome. Systemic diseases may also increase risks. For example, women with diabetes are at risk of diabetic retinopathy.
Managing Eye Health
Women have learned to become their own best advocates for their health concerns and objectives. To be an advocate, they educate themselves about the symptoms and conditions that may affect them. Fortunately, when it comes to maintaining healthy eyes, the steps are relatively uncomplicated. In addition to knowing risks and maintaining regular ophthalmic exams, women should avoid tobacco use, eat a nutritious diet and take recommended supplements, and practice good hygiene that includes removing makeup every night before bed.