While most of us know that men and women have different and specific health needs, we might not realize that there are also distinct differences between men’s and women’s optical health. These differences are not only due to variations in lifestyle, but also life expectancy and fluctuations in hormone levels. Here are a few factors that influence women’s eye health.
Women are more susceptible to dry eye than men.
Chronic dry eye is a condition that tends to affect more women than men – the National Women’s Health Resource Center estimate that the number of women who experience moderate to severe dry eye symptoms is double that of men. While it can be an uncomfortable nuisance, persistent dry eye is something that should be addressed by a medical professional, as it can signify a significant medical problem, or potentially lead to serious eye infection and possible reduction of visual acuity.
Hormone changes affect eye health.
In 2010, it was estimated that 61 percent of women over the age of 80 will have developed cataracts, compared to 39 percent of men. Considerable changes in hormone levels, like those associated with pregnancy, menopause, or birth control, may raise the risk of developing cataracts later in life. While cataracts are common in seniors, many people develop symptoms as early as their 40s. Regular eye exams will alert you to irregularities that could indicate the development of cataracts.
Longer life expectancy increases eye disease risk.
Women may be more likely to suffer from certain ocular conditions, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, due to reaching a more advanced age than men. While age may be more of a risk factor than sex, it is nonetheless important for women to take eye care seriously, and get regular eye exams to detect potential complications that could affect long-term visual health.
The most important precaution women can take to protect their eyesight is to schedule comprehensive checkups with an eye care professional. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an optometrist.
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