Everyone Seems to Love Women ……. Even the Eye Diseases!
Ironic, but true, even eye diseases seem to fall more for women. In fact, this odd relationship seems to be flourishing as the women age, perhaps like wine, the older the better sorts?
Well, I am not presuming all of this, if you’re wondering. I’ve got some serious stats to back my claims; for example, this ‘Vision Problems in the U.S.’ report by ‘Prevent Blindness America’ published in 2012, according to which:
In the age group 60-64 years, around 6000 more women than men suffer from macular degeneration,
the number jumping to about 40,000 more women than men for the age group 75-79 years.
After age 89, the number of women suffering from vision loss almost doubles
the number of men.
Not sure about you, but definitely looks more than an interesting coincidence to me. That’s why I believe that women, especially in their old age, must take their eye health even more seriously than men should. And that’s why I have compiled a short list of reasons why women should take extra care of their eyes:
1. Women are Outliving Men
This is especially true for the United States, and as the age group increases, so does this difference between the two. The data shared by the United States Census Bureau reveals that the number of women over 85 is almost double the number of men alive in that particular age group. Though living longer does sound like quite an incentive, there are certain downsides to it as well; for example, increased susceptibility to a host of eye disease like age related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and so forth.
2. Eye Diseases Seem to Fall More for Women
You might still be a little apprehensive about my claim that eye diseases seem to be loving women more than men in general (and I don’t really blame you for this). So, I’ve come up with even more stats to back this claim up; for example, ‘Prevent Blindness America’ published this report titled ‘Vision Problems in the United States: Prevalence of Adult Vision Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America’.
It is clear from the contents of this report that four sight-threatening eye diseases, i.e. glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, AMD and cataracts particularly like to “affect” aging females. Some other reports have tried to interpret the same in numbers. According to them, there are a total of about 4.1 million US citizens aged 40 or above who are visually impaired or blind, and 2.6 million of them are females.
3. Untreated Refractive Errors Also Affect More Women than Men
In fact, these four are not the only eye problems that seem to be excessively fond of women; there are others as well, untreated refractive errors in this case, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
Significant vision problems can result from these refractive errors, though they can be treated with the help of glasses, contact lenses or certain laser procedures like LASIK.
There are three variables that determine the refractive errors, i.e. the length of the eye, the shape of the cornea and the lens shape. Out of these three variables, first two remain constant throughout the lifetime for most people, while age-related changes can occur in the lens.
The lens of the eye is a clear crystalline structure constituting the front part of the eye, and is used to focus light on the retina inside the eye. The shape of the lens can be changed significantly with the passage of time, as it hardens, become more opaque and cloudy. This type of change in the lens is referred as a cataract, which also progresses with increasing age. Many of the untreated refractive errors in aging female population can be caused by early cataracts.
4. Dry Eye Syndrome Affects More Women than Men
Some of the implications of dry eye syndrome include redness, irritation, pain as well as reduced vision. The tears serve to lubricate the eyes and are produced by the glands located on the surface of the eye. Dry eye syndrome can result either from a reduced volume of tear production or from abnormal composition of tears.
There are also a number of studies highlighting the effects of hormonal issues on the eyelids and the glands of the eyes. Now, women undergoing significant hormonal changes through different stages of their lives, is also an established fact, particularly before, during and after menopause.
This means there’s a high likelihood of some of these hormonal imbalances contributing to dry eyes syndrome. Earlier, hormone replacement therapy was considered helpful in maneuvering through such a situation, but some latest studies indicate that the dry eye syndrome can actually be worsened by hormone replacement therapy.
According to the ‘Dry Eye Fact Sheet’ produced by the ‘National Eye Institute’:
The probability of getting dry eye increases after menopause. So, women experiencing premature menopause
are more susceptible to eye surface damage due to dry eye.
It is quite unfortunate that chronic dry eye has remained an unrecognized and unattended area associated with the aging process for so long. It is turning into a key health concern of contemporary times, affecting the physical health as well as quality of life of about 10 million US citizens every single year.
Both men and women become victims of chronic dry eyes, but women are affected two to three times more than their male counterparts, and are most probable to get affected when entering menopause, during it and in the years immediately following it.
Though many eye problems may occur at any age, but their probability of affecting an individual increases significantly with increasing age, as established through countless studies by now.
Unfortunately, the risk of various types of vision-threatening eye diseases is also increased due to aging, capable of leading to legal blindness as well as total vision loss, and women seem to be victimized by such occurrences more than men.
So, as a woman, it is utterly important to take care of your eyes to make sure you enjoy a healthy vision for as long as possible. For this, you can adapt to an overall improved lifestyle focused on optimal eye health.
Moreover, getting your eyes regularly checked for any possible signs and symptoms of irregularities is another good way to ensure long-term safety of your eyes and vision, for which nothing serves better than regular eye exam.
Hopefully, these reasons serve as enough of inspiration for you as an aging woman and you start tending to your eyes with the care and attention they deserve.