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April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Women are more likely to suffer from sight-threatening eye disorders than men.  That’s the reason ISPB and Prevent Blindness Illinois have designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. According to eye health statistics from the National Eye Institute, women have a higher prevalence of many of the major vision problems, including:
AMD
Cataract
Dry Eye
Glaucoma
Refractive Error 
Women are also more likely to have autoimmune conditions, which often come with visual side effects.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for women, fluctuating hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the eye’s oil glands, which can lead to dryness. Estrogen can also make the cornea less stiff, which can affect how light travels into the eye. The dryness and the change in refraction can cause blurry vision and can also make wearing contact lenses difficult.
 
Pregnancy brings an increase in hormones that may cause changes in vision. Women with pre-existing eye conditions, like glaucoma, high blood pressure or diabetes, need to alert their eye doctor that they are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant).
 
Women as Caregivers
Women often make the majority of their family’s health care decisions. In addition to being responsible for their own health, women are often responsible as caregivers for the health care choices of their children, partners, spouse, and aging parents. Making vision and eye health a priority for ourselves, as well as those we care for, can prevent unnecessary vision loss in the future.
 
Protecting Vision
Prevent Blindness and ISPB recommend the following steps to protect vision and eye health:
Get regular eye exams
Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors
Learn of any family history of eye disease
Use cosmetics safely
Use contact lenses safely
Please visit the Prevent Blindness website for more information about women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases and eye protection, and also information on vision care financial assistance.  

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