Women and Eye Health

By Ophthalmology Department, Eye Consultants


Ophthalmology Department
Eye Consultants

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March 03, 2020

Generally, women know how important it is to visit the doctor regularly. But few realize that visiting the eye doctor is just as important. Women must visit their eye specialists regularly since they are likelier to suffer from eye problems than men. This includes the big four that cause not just loss of vision but also blindness.

They are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Why Women Are at Risk

There are several reasons why women are at risk for eye problems. They are:

  • 67 per cent of all visual impairment and blindness cases exist among women.
  • Women usually outlive men and therefore live longer. This makes them vulnerable to eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
  • They are also prone to suffering from autoimmune conditions that accompany visual side-effects.
  • Women’s vision may also be affected by hormonal changes, e.g. dry eye.

Eye Diseases Among Women

These are the eye diseases commonly experienced by women:

  • Cataract: This disease results when the lens of the eye gets cloudy and begins to obstruct vision. Since women live longer, they are prone to developing this eye disease.

How to Prevent Cataracts: Women can protect their eyes from cataracts by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with 100% UV filter so that their eyes aren’t affected by ultraviolet A and B rays.

Women should also lose weight so that their blood sugar levels are normalized. By eating fish or taking fish oil supplements and quitting smoking, women can protect their eyes from cataracts and other eye disorders.

  • Glaucoma: This complex eye disease is caused when the pressure in the eye is very high and causes the optic nerve to be damaged. It causes irreversible blindness. There are two types of glaucoma: Open-angle and Closed-angle.

Of these, men and women suffer from the former, while closed-angle glaucoma affects women with eyes smaller than men. Their eyes affect the drainage of fluid from the eye and could cause pressure in the eye to build up.

How to Prevent Glaucoma: Visit the eye doctor regularly for a comprehensive eye exam. Also, lower your eye pressure by using prescription eye drops. If you detect any changes in vision, speak to your doctor about it.

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): This common eye disease is the No. 1 eye disease among 50-year-olds and over. It damages the macula, that small spot near the mid-point of the retina and the part of the eye responsible for sharp vision straight ahead.

How to Prevent AMD: There’s no known cause for macular degeneration. However, genetics may be a reason for its development. Women should eat low-fat meat and at least two servings of fish per week, apart from exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. If women notice any change in vision, they should get in touch with their doctors immediately.

  • Dry Eye Syndrome: According to research, women above the age of 40 experience the problem of Dry Eye Syndrome twice as much as men do. This problem is identified by the eyes not producing enough tears to keep the eyes lubricated or they are of poor quality and evaporate within no time.

Dry eye syndrome is also caused due to the hormonal change that women experience when   they begin to menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is another reason for this eye disease. As the body grows old, it produces smaller quantities of oil, which lets the tears in the eyes to evaporate easier.

Dry Eye Syndrome is typified by a stinging or burning sensation in the eyes. Often, they also experience irritation or scratchiness and shed tears copiously. It has been found that this condition affects at least 3.2 million American women.

How to Prevent Dry Eye Disease: There are many ways of preventing the development of Dry Eye Disease, such as:

  • Wearing protective eyewear and safety shields on the sides and top of the eyewear so that it can protect your eyes from dry air and wind.
  • Take breaks from tasks that need a lot of visual or mental concentration. During these breaks, remember to close your eyes for some time. Alternatively, blink a few times so that your tears can spread evenly all across your eyes.
  • If you are in a dry environment, as in places of high altitudes like mountains, or desert areas or even in planes, close your eyes as often as you can, if only for a few minutes so that your tears are not evaporated or they happen minimally.
  • Set your computer to well below eye level or you will need to keep them open wider so that you see the screen accurately. This will contribute greatly to evaporating your tears each time you blink.
  • Don’t smoke and keep away from smokers so you don’t inhale the smoke. Smoke from tobacco is known to hasten dry eyes symptoms.
  • Use eye drops to moisten your eyes regularly. This will be a big help for those who do concentrated work on computers for long periods.

Diabetic Retinopathy: When blood vessels damage the back of the retina, it causes diabetic retinopathy. This is a fallout of diabetes and until one suffers from diabetes, such complications arise. If left untreated, it can cause blindness.

How to Prevent Diabetic Retinopathy:

You can prevent or reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy by normalizing your blood sugar levels, and your cholesterol and blood pressure too. You can do these by making lifestyle choices which include:

  • Eating a nutritious diet and cutting down on fat and sugar
  • Exercising regularly, at least 150 minutes of exercise such as cycling or walking per week or 10,000 steps a day
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing the intake of alcohol


Overall, as in other diseases too, eye disorders among women can be controlled and prevented by taking certain measures, chiefly by visiting the eye doctor periodically. 

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