In a survey conducted by Harris Poll in January 2014, it was found that 91 percent of women are not aware that they are at greater risk than men of developing an eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss. With such an astonishing number, it’s critical that practitioners take advantage of Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month in April to inform female patients of their potential risk.
Statistics have shown that women are 66 percent more likely to suffer blindness than men. Women account for 61 percent of cataract diagnoses as well as 65 percent of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) cases. Diseases such as glaucoma and vision impairment due to refractive error are also significantly higher in women. Most of these diseases develop in older adults.
With age and hormonal changes being key factors in the development of eye diseases, the fact that women have longer life expectancies and are more susceptible to hormonal change than men is a major cause of the increased risks. Declining estrogen levels in postmenopausal women and fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can also lead to changes in vision and cause issues such as dry eye. Women that develop gestational diabetes should have their vision monitored very closely to watch for signs of diabetic eye diseases.
Education is the best defense for your female patients. Impressing upon them the importance of overall good health, proper nutritional habits and exercise, as well as routine eye exams, may help your patients realize the seriousness of their increased risk of vision impairment and allow them to make better choices in their eye care habits. You may also refer them to “See Jane See,” a patient resource from Prevent Blindness that provides information on the issues that commonly affect women and their vision, as well as information on how women can better care for their eyes.
While educating your patients is very important, providing them with comprehensive eye exams is tantamount. Optos’ optomap® technology provides you with a greater view of the retina without the need for dilation, and allows you to inspect images immediately. For more information visit our website or contact us today.