Women Must Make Eye Health a Priority

Women at Higher-Risk than Men for Sight-Threatening Eye Diseases and Conditions

CHICAGO (March26, 2013) – Among the many differences between men and women’s health, women are more susceptible to vision impairment. Of the 4.1 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind, 2.6 million are women. And,according to a recent study by Prevent Blindness America, more women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the four leading eye diseases in the country.

According to the National Eye Institute, the causes are primarily due to longevity as well as hormonal factors.  Prevent Blindness America has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month in an effort to educate women about the steps they can take today to help preserve vision in the future.

“The first thing every woman should do, especially those ages 40 and older, is get a dilated eye exam," said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America.  "Through early detection and treatment, vision loss can be lessened.”

Prevent Blindness America also recommends a healthy diet, quitting smoking, taking supplements (as approved by a medical professional), consistently wearing UV-blocking sunglasses with a brimmed hat outdoors and learning of any family history of eye disease.

If anyone is experiencing any of the following symptoms, an appointment with an eyecare professional should be made immediately:

  • Unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms;
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects;
  • Squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare;
  • Change in color of iris;
  • Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen lids;
  • Recurrent pain in or around eyes;
  • Double vision;
  • Dark spot at the center of viewing;
  • Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy;
  • Excess tearing or "watery eyes";
  • Dry eyes with itching or burning; and
  • Seeing spots, ghost-like images.

For more information on women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision, and the safe use of cosmetics, please visit www.preventblindness.org or call 1-800-331-2020.

Download a copy of the women's eye health press release.