Women are at greater risk of serious eye disease, but there are steps you can take to protect your eyes.
Numbers don’t lie, but they sure can make us think.
You may have heard the news that the vast majority of visually impaired people—two out of three—are women.
Part of the reason lies in the fact that women tend to live longer and the risk of eye disease increases with age. But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Just because you are a women doesn't meant that there is nothing that you can do. The good news is that three-fourths of eye disease is preventable or treatable.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your eyes—
One of the best things you can do to prevent blindness may sound simple, but it’s essential. Detect and treat eye disease before it steals your vision.
Take cataracts for example, they cause more than half of all blindness but in fact are highly treatable. Yet, far too many women don’t get treatment. Don’t let that be you.
Talk to your eye doctor about your risk-level for cataracts, especially if any of the following is true:
- You’re getting older
- You have diabetes
- You have a history of eye injury or spend lots of time in the sun
- You have a family history of eye disease
- You’re a smoker
You buckle your seatbelt and wear sunscreen. Why not take good care of your eyes? There are some important lifestyle habits you can adopt that can make your eye’s safer too, including:
- Quit smoking. It doubles your risk of macular degeneration and makes you 2 to 3 times more likely to develop cataracts.
- Be eye smart. Know the “Big 4” diseases that steal sight: cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise to protect your vision. It may help reduce risk of macular degeneration and can lower other risk factors including obesity and blood pressure.
- Know your family health history and heritage.
- Schedule regular exams with a qualified eye doctor.
Many of us take steps to eat heart healthy, but did you know that eyes have nutritional needs too? Certain foods provide key nutrients that support good vision and ward off disease. Eat a diet rich in these important compounds:
- Beta-carotene is found in carrots, sweet potatoes spinach and kale and may inhibit macular degeneration.
- Flavonoids may help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. Good sources are tea, red wine, citrus fruits, and blueberries.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in spinach, kale and other greens and may prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Ask your eye doctor if supplements are right for you.
With about 500,000 preventable eye injuries per year, it makes sense to take steps to protect your eyes in your daily life. Be aware of everyday hazards and take care of your eyes.
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and hats outdoors.
- Use cosmetics wisely, replace them after 3 months, and never share products.
- Protect your eyes from irritants and injuries when participating in sports or working with tools, chemicals or doing yard work.
- Remember, sunglasses are not a substitute for protective eye wear.
- If you wear contacts, follow the guidelines for usage, cleaning and replacement.
Eye Exam, Right Now.
If you do nothing else, see your eye doctor once a year for a comprehensive eye exam.
Many eye diseases are silent with no aches and pains or early warning signs. But an eye doctor can easily spot eye problems and prevent long-term damage.
The best thing you can do for your eyes is schedule an appointment right now; click here to find your local Vision Source eye doctor.