Do you take your eyes for granted? Often patients take their eyesight for granted until they begin having problems with their vision. When day-to-day activities become challenging, that will trigger a call for an eye appointment. Having good vision and healthy eyes may determine your ability to remain independent and self-sufficient.
Studies have shown that women make up 65 percent of AMD cases; 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. On average women live longer and many eye problems are age-related. Some eye conditions, such as dry eye, are more common in women, young and old. Often women put their family’s health and screenings before themselves and neglect regular eye care.
In general, women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, many of which affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyper thyroiditis. In addition, pregnancy can cause vision changes due to the hormonal changes pregnant women experience. As women age and go through menopause, dry eye occurs at double the rate.
Prevention is key to preventable vision loss. The good news is most vision loss is preventable. Here are some simple steps to take control of your eye health today:
- Early signs of disease or changes in vision may begin at 40. Get a yearly comprehensive medical eye exam. An exam by an eye care professional skilled in medical and surgical eye care provides the opportunity to identify diseases and conditions that are not symptomatic in the early stages.
- Know your family history. Certain eye diseases can be inherited – macular degeneration and glaucoma in your family’s history can increase your risk by 50% for macular degeneration and from four to nine times for glaucoma. If you haven’t talked with family members about their eye conditions, now is the time to do so.
- Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefit the entire body, including the eyes.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco smoke worsens dry eye.
- Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataracts, fleshy growths on the eye and cancer.
- Bacteria will form from your eyelashes and requires daily eyelid hygiene. Like brushing your teeth, your eyelids need daily care. Hot compresses help keep tear producing glands working at top efficiency.
In a comprehensive eye exam at Bissell Eye Care, our state-of-the-art technology allow us to look at the overall health of your eyes. During these exams, we may discover conditions that affect your eyes in addition to perhaps uncovering an underlying condition in your overall general health. This will ultimately help your primary care provider enhance your overall health and wellness.
Be proactive, stay healthy and protect your eyesight with regular eye exams.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.