April brings Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Let’s count some of the ways that women’s eyes are different from men’s eyes.
- Women have higher rates of eye diseases, including cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. This occurs partly because women tend to live longer than men.
- Women are more likely to have dry eyes.
- Pregnancy and the gestational diabetes that sometimes accompanies it can cause vision changes.
- Diabetes at any age can affect a woman’s vision.
- Menopause and its age-related hormonal changes also can cause vision changes.
- Women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, including lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome and hyperthyroiditis. These diseases can affect vision.
Other common-sense strategies for protecting a woman’s vision include:
- Use contact lenses and eye cosmetics safely.
- Know your family history of eye disease, if any.
- Quit smoking. Better yet, don’t start smoking.
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat when you’re outside.
- Ask a doctor about nutritional supplements that may help preserve vision.
Chen is one of five women providing expert eye care for people of all ages at BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists. The others are Dr. Kara H. Harbick, an ophthalmologist, and Dr. Elizabeth Congdon and Dr. Jordyn C. King, who are optometrists.