Women and Blindness

Women & Vision

Did you know that women are more likely to experience vision loss and blindness than men? The National Eye Institute and National Institutes of Health report that approximately 3.5 million Americans over age 40 have been diagnosed with vision loss or blindness, and women make up more than 70 percent of this group.

Women are more prone to vision impairment for three reasons:

  • Longer life – Women tend to live longer than men and are more susceptible to experiencing eye diseases as they age, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma
  • Dry eyes and autoimmune diseases – Women are naturally at higher risk for dry eye syndrome and autoimmune diseases that affect the eyes, including lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inadequate access to health services – Many women live in poverty and have limited access to health care services for medical concerns like eye diseases

According to Women’s Eye Health, three-fourths of vision impairment issues are preventable. Review these guidelines to lower your risk:

  • Schedule regular appointments for eye exams – Eye professionals will conduct a series of tests to evaluate the health of your eyes and identify potential concerns
  • Stop smoking – Smoking is a contributing factor to cataract development and age-related macular degeneration
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Research indicates that obesity may increase your risk for diabetic eye disease, called diabetic retinopathy
  • Follow a regular exercise program – Keep your body healthy by exercising for 30 minutes at least five days a week
  • Eat nutritious meals – Scientists have discovered that regular consumption of vegetables rich in lutein, vitamin D and antioxidants vitamin A and E, help improve vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration as well as defend the eyes from ultraviolet radiation
  • Protect eyes from the sun – Wear a hat and sunglasses designed to block harmful ultraviolet rays that can lead to the development of cataracts or macular degeneration as you age

If you are a woman and have experienced any eye health concerns, what treatment options did you pursue? – Karen Gustin, Ameritas Group