Women at Higher Risk than Men for Sight-Threatening Eye Diseases And Conditions

Women Must Make Eye Health a Priority Today in Order to Preserve Vision for the Future

HOUSTON (March 26, 2013) – Among the many differences between men and women’s health, women are more susceptible to vision impairment. Of the 4.1 million Americans ages 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind, 2.6 million are women. And, according to a recent study by Prevent Blindness America, more women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the four leading eye diseases in the country.

According to the National Eye Institute, the causes are primarily due to longevity as well as hormonal factors.  Prevent Blindness Texas has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month in an effort to educate women about the steps they can take today to help preserve vision in the future.

“The first thing every woman should do, especially those ages 40 and older, is to get a dilated eye exam," said Debbie Goss, President and CEO of Prevent Blindness Texas.  "Through early detection and treatment, vision loss can be lessened.”

Prevent Blindness America also recommends a healthy diet, not smoking, taking supplements (as approved by a medical professional), consistently wearing UV-blocking sunglasses with a brimmed hat outdoors, and learning of any family history of eye disease.

If anyone is experiencing any of the following symptoms, an appointment with an eye care professional should be made immediately:

  • Unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms;
  • Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects;
  • Squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare;
  • Change in color of iris;
  • Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen lids;
  • Recurrent pain in or around eyes;
  • Double vision;
  • Dark spot at the center of viewing;
  • Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy;
  • Excess tearing or "watery eyes";
  • Dry eyes with itching or burning; and
  • Seeing spots, ghost-like images.

For more information on women’s eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision, and the safe use of cosmetics, pleasecall Prevent Blindness Texas at 1-888-98-SIGHT or visit www.preventblindnesstexas.org.

About Prevent Blindness Texas   

Founded in 1956, Prevent Blindness is the state’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight.  Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness Texas touches the lives of thousands of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, community and patient service programs and research.  These services are made possible through the generous support of the Texas public.  Through a network of regional offices and volunteers, we are committed to eliminating preventable blindness in Texas.  For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-888-98-SIGHT or visit us on the Web at www.preventblindnesstexas.org, http://www.facebook.com/preventblindnesstexas, www.twitter.com/PBTexas, or www.preventblindnesstexas.blogspot.com.

Download the Women's Eye Health and Safety Press Release.