When it comes to women’s health and wellness, nutrition, fertility, intimate health and mental health are typically some of the biggest concerns. Unfortunately, on the journey to physical and mental wellness, one major thing that can get overlooked is our eyes.
In order to achieve whole-body wellness, it’s essential for women to make caring for and preserving their vision a part of their quest for overall optimal health.
To help create more awareness and a better understanding of eye health amongst women, here are a few things that women should know about eye problems and vision-related conditions that are specific to them.
A Greater Risk for Vision Loss
While men and women are both susceptible to common vision problems, such as age-related diseases, dry eye, glaucoma and cataracts, the risks for vision-related conditions are not equal between the two.
In fact, for most eye diseases, women are at a higher risk than men. And according to a 2015 study conducted by Prevent Blindness, women make up the majority of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind. But only less than 10 percent of American women actually realize that they are at greater risk, compared to men, of suffering permanent vision loss.
Beauty is Not Eye Pain
For many women, makeup is an important part of their beauty regimens and as essential to their look as any piece of clothing or accessory. But poor makeup quality, hygiene and habits can lead to problems with the eyes and eyelids.
When it comes to eyeshadow, go for a cream over powder options, as powders are much more likely to get into and irritate eyes. And, it should be noted that, generally, the more cheaply an eyeshadow is produced, the least pigment-dense it will be, resulting in a product that is primarily composed of inferior filler that makes it much more “dusty” in consistency and that doesn’t adhere well to the eyelid.
For a safer alternative to eyeshadow, you can use eyeliner and mascara instead. And to minimize the risk or irritation from mascara, choose products without lash-lengthening micro-fibers, which tend to flake and migrate.
Also, it would be wise to opt for hypoallergenic makeup, particularly if you have sensitive skin and are more prone to allergies and irritation as a result of cosmetics.
Birth Control and Glaucoma
A study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, Duke University and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University in China suggests that women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years are twice as likely to suffer from glaucoma in the future.
While the results of this study don’t speak directly to the causative effect of oral contraceptives on the development of glaucoma, it does indicate that long-term use of oral contraceptives might be a potential risk factor for glaucoma and may be considered as part of the risk profile for a patient, combined with other existing risk factors.
Vision Changes During Pregnancy
Expectant mothers may experience changes in their vision, as pregnancy can make the eyes more sensitive to light, causing headaches or migraine pain. Pregnancy can also make a woman’s sight blurry. These issues are often temporary. After giving birth and when fluid retention is corrected, mothers usually have their vision return to normal.
However, although most vision changes during pregnancy are mild and temporary, the occasional vision and light sensitivity might also indicate preeclampsia brought on by high blood pressure (a complication that can occur around the 20th week of pregnancy, which can develop rapidly and endanger the mother and baby) and gestational diabetes (a temporary form of diabetes that can damage the blood vessels in the retina).
Neglecting Self Eye Care
Often, women serve as caregivers for the health and wellbeing choices of their spouses, children, parents and other family members. However, when it comes to their own care (specifically, eye care), women can have a tendency to neglect their own needs, even though maintaining healthy vision is key to positively impacting those that depend on their care.
In fact, a survey found that one in four women had not received an eye exam in the past two years. Although cost was the main prohibitor for this, another reason cited was simply being “too busy” to make an appointment.
In order for women to enhance the health and wellbeing of both themselves and those around them, eye care must be an essential part of their wellness regime. And, by far, the best way to maintain healthy eyes is by having regular comprehensive eye exams.
Be sure to contact OCLI to schedule your eye exam today, so that you can keep your vision healthy and clear, now and in the future.