Often times, women are responsible for taking care of their family’s health concerns but will neglect their own health, including their eye health. Current statistics show that women make up about 53% of the population and they account for two-thirds of people who will end up with a visual impairment or blindness. As a woman, I join with Prevent Blindness to get the word out to ALL women to take care of your eye health this month.
Because the life expectancy for women is increasing, so is the rate of eye diseases in the United States. Macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, and diabetes are among the most common eye condition that can affect eyesight, and there are others.
A comprehensive eye exam is highly recommended if it has been greater than a year since your last eye exam. And even though your vision may be good, a comprehensive eye exam will thoroughly check for all eye health concerns. Many eye conditions can occur without symptoms (particularly glaucoma) and can lead to blindness if left undetected.
The family history will be important to relay to your eye care provider. Many women are at a higher risk for some eye health conditions mainly because of another family member already having the condition. Early detection can prevent severe visual impairments if the family history is known early.
Healthy eating habits, exercise, avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke, and wearing sunglasses can prevent many other eye health conditions such as retinopathy related to hypertension or diabetes, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Obesity and stress can also lead to unhealthy eyes. Over exposure to sunlight can result in early cataracts and macular degeneration. Wearing protective eyewear with 100% UV protection and a hat can help slow the onset of these developments.
Serious eye infections can occur from improper use and wear of contact lenses and make-up. Failure to remove contact lenses regularly can lead to permanent eye damage and reduced vision (or even blindness). Eye infections can be so severe that medications cannot prevent permanent scarring. Not removing make up properly can also lead to eye infections that can be difficult to treat. Washing hands thoroughly and following directions for contact lens wear and make-up use is the first place to start to help prevent eye infections.
So Women…, make April the month that we continue to love and take care of others, but we also need to take time to take care of ourselves. And while it may seem selfish to focus on yourself (for a change), the reality is others will not have you to care for them if you are not well yourself.
If you are in need of an eye care provider, I invite you to visit me at: 321 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah (near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic). For appointments, call (912) 927-0707 and visit us at www.envisionsavannah.com