An annual eye exam is important for both men and women, but many do not realize that women face greater risks. Due to women’s longer lifespan and increased risk of several overall health conditions that impact vision, women are at increased risk of vision issues. According to data from the Prevent Blindness study, “The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems,” women make up the majority of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind.
According to See Jane See, a program created by Prevent Blindness to provide free education and resources to help women better understand vision issues unique to them, 91 percent of women in the United States are not aware they have a higher risk of permanent vision loss when compared to men.
While many of these vision issues are easily preventable, MyEyeDr. sheds some light on habits women can incorporate into their daily routine to promote healthy eyes:
Use contact lenses correctly. In alignment with contact lens safety awareness month, it is important to understand how to properly use contact lenses. Follow instructions as outlined by your eye care professional, including washing hands before handling, replacing per the schedule prescribed and never sleeping in contacts. Proper care for the contact lens case is equally important, taking appropriate measures to clean the case with fresh solution - not water, replacing every three months and leaving the empty case open to air dry, in order to decrease risk of contamination.
Those considering contacts should make an appointment with their eye care provider. Contact lens wear can start when a patient is first diagnosed with vision issues, or years later as lifestyles and personal needs change. MyEyeDr. provides contact lens evaluations at any age, with options available to accommodate personalized needs, whether you prefer to replace daily, monthly or keep lenses in permanently.
To avoid a real-life Halloween horror story – going blind because of a costume accessory – the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AOA) is warning the public against wearing costume contact lenses purchased without a prescription. These illegally sold cosmetic lenses may not be sterile and can cause a host of serious eye problems capable of morphing a fun Halloween night into a nightmare.
Understand cosmetic safety and your eyes. Most skincare and makeup products list an expiration date on the label – however, this can easily be overlooked. When it comes to eye health, pay close attention to the expiration date on products that make direct contact with your eyes. Mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, facial soaps, moisturizers and even the brushes used to apply these products, can carry harmful bacteria, causing adverse effects like redness, itching and even conjunctivitis.
Protect eyes from harmful UV rays. Sunglasses serve as a fashion statement, but the right pair can shield eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, even in the winter months. Prolonged and high levels of UV rays can lead to serious health problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration. During fall months, the shortening days and path of the sun can lead to dangerous driving conditions with increased sun glare. Remember to sport your shades to protect eyes during UV exposure, selecting a pair with polarized lenses to minimize glare.
Schedule your annual eye exam. An annual eye exam is recommended for all women, even when vision issues aren’t apparent. Having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important step an individual can take to prevent, diagnose and treat vision issues like glaucoma, retinal holes, retinal detachments, diabetic disease and systematic disease. Consult your local optometrist and schedule an annual eye exam to detect issues early and ensure proper treatment so you can continue seeing clearly.
“Because women make up the majority of caregivers, self-care, including an annual eye exam, may become lower priority,” said Dr. Artis Beatty, chief medical officer at MyEyeDr. “We recommend taking necessary steps to ensure optimal vision for yourself, as well as the positive implications healthy vision can have for your dependents.”
This month is a great time to schedule an annual eye exam to take care of your eyes, while taking advantage of the latest fall fashions. With brands like Grayson, Nine West, Dragon, OGI, Seraphin and Calvin Klein, MyEyeDr. patients are sure to find the perfect styles to complement any fall wardrobe while correcting vision issues.
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