To celebrate our eye health month dedicated to women, Allders Opticians would like to explore some of the common eye health issues faced by women.
Did you know women are at greater risk of developing a sight threatening eye condition than men? According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, nearly two-thirds of people living with sight loss are women. This is related to women living longer than men and normal age-related hormonal changes.
Here we will explore the conditions women are more susceptible to:
1. Presbyopia – A condition that stiffens the eye’s crystalline lens and is part of the natural ageing process. This usually occurs after the age of 40, and symptoms include headaches, blurred vision and tired eyes. The condition is managed with reading glasses and contact lenses.
2. Dry Eye – When the tear film is of poor quality or quantity, causing the eye’s surface to become exposed, irritated and more prone to infection. Symptoms include grittiness, tearing, tired eyes, and a feeling that there is something in your eye. It is more common in people over the age of 65, and especially in women during menopause. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your optometrist who would be able to suggest suitable eye drops and dietary changes.
3. Cataract – A clouding of the crystalline lens inside the eye. More prevalent in postmenopausal women than men of the same age. Symptoms include misty or blurred vision, ghosting, excessive glare and impaired colour perception. When the cataract progresses, glasses or contact lenses may not help improve vision to the desired level, and at this stage intra-ocular lens replacement surgery would need to be considered.
4. Glaucoma – A condition which causes damage to the optic nerve. Women who experience early menopause are more at risk of developing glaucoma due to the loss of oestrogen. Patients with glaucoma are usually unaware they have any problems until the condition advances. At this late stage, loss of peripheral vision occurs which may lead to the patient bumping into things. Regular eye examinations will enable earlier signs of glaucoma to be detected, which can then be controlled with eye drops or laser treatment to help reduce the chances of permanent vision loss.
5. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – An eye disease in older people which causes the loss of central vision, and is the leading cause of blindness in the U.K. There are two forms of AMD, dry AMD and wet AMD, and both are more common in women than men. Dry AMD is the most common of the two affecting around 90% of all AMD patients, and develops gradually. Symptoms of AMD include shadowy areas in the central vision, blurred or distorted vision, straight lines appear crooked, and it can become difficult to recognise faces.
There are steps we can take to protect our vision and health as outlined below:
- Having regular eye examinations
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy balanced diet
- Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
- Understanding your family history of eye disease
- Using cosmetics safely
- Using contact lenses safely
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above, please contact your local Allders Opticians for an appointment with our friendly optometrists.