Friends for Sight encourages all women in Utah to have their eyes examined and to take steps to protect and preserve their sight!
Did You Know?
Women account for more than 50% of visual impairment in U.S.
- are more likely to have age-related macular degeneration
- are more likely to suffer from glaucoma and cataracts
- are more likely to have other diseases (e.g., thyroid disease) that are associated with eye conditions
- are likely to have dry eye disease and more severe symptoms
Eye Disease in Women
Approximately 12 million Americans ages 40 and older are visually impaired or blind, and more than half of them are women.1,2 The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the United States include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.1,2 As the population ages, the number of Americans at risk for age-related eye diseases is increasing. Since women live longer than men, these effects are greater for women.
Women have biological differences that make them more susceptible to eye diseases.1 For example, women:
- experience age-related hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause) that can affect vision.
- are at greater risk for autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, which involve the eyes.
- are more likely to undergo certain cancer treatments that may affect vision.
Disparities in Health Care
Differences in eye diseases due to biology widen even further when considering factors related to disparities in treatment access and health care services as a result of sex and gender.1,3 For example, a study found that women were more likely to have difficulty affording eyeglasses than men.4 Most recently, a national Women’s Eye Health Working Group has called for “research, clinical care, and education to reduce disparities and improve patient care in women’s eye health”. 3
What Can I Do?
Lower your risk
Women can lower their risk by keeping healthy habits such as:
- Eating a healthy diet, including fresh fruits (especially citrus) and green, leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, and other oily fish.
- Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting health care during pregnancy and for conditions like
- Not smoking since it is a risk for AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma.
- Wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from ultraviolet rays and lower the risk of cataracts and AMD.
Most importantly, women can lower their risk and even prevent future vision problems by having regular eye exams particularly when pregnant, near menopause or if suffering from a disease that is associated with a higher risk of eye conditions.
Check out these tips from the National Eye Institute
- Getting a dilated eye exam
- Find resources to pay for eye care
1. Aninye et al. The roles of sex and gender in women’s eye health disparities in the United States. Biol Sex Differ 2020:12; 2. Making Eye Health a Population Health Imperative: Vision for Tomorrow. National Academies Press. 2016; 3. Clayton JA et al. Sex/gender disparities and women’s eye health. Current Eye Research, 40:2. DOI: 10.3109/02713683.2014.986333.