According to the World Health Organization (WHO) almost two thirds of blind people worldwide are women and girls. Women are also prone to develop dry eye problems more than men. There are several ways to keep the eyes healthy to prevent serious eye problems from developing.

Hereditary eye problems

An important thing to know is family history of any eye diseases. It is helpful to know which eye problems run in the family and whether these are hereditary. This will give a clear idea if one is at higher risk of developing a certain eye condition. Certain steps can then be taken to prevent its occurrence or minimize the complications that may be associated with it. To stay on the safe side, continue to consult your family ophthalmologist for regularly. Better safe than sorry, right?

Eating Right

Eating right can help protect eyesight. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, peas, and broccoli are rich in lutein, an antioxidant that protects cells against damage. Lutein was found to be concentrated in the macula, a part of the retina of the eye responsible for central vision. Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness. Lutein acts as a natural eye shade that may protect the retina against sun damage.

Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E can likewise help reduce the progression of age related macular degeneration. These antioxidants play a significant role in maintaining healthy cell membranes and other cell processes. A deficiency in Vitamin E has also been pointed to as one of the causes of dry eye syndrome, a condition that can lead to scarring of the cornea and vision loss.

Eat protein rich food:

When we’re discussing eating habits, we can’t rule meat proteins, can we? Research has also shown that eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial to the eyes. Several studies suggest that omega 3 fatty acids may help protect the eyes from dry eye syndrome. Dry eye is a common complaint among middle aged women and this can cause severe eye irritation because of insufficient tear production. Dry eye in itself does not lead to blindness but it can increase the risk for eye infection. Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, and halibut. The retina has one of the highest concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids in the body and by simply increasing the dietary intake of omega 3, there is almost 50% decrease in the severity of retinopathy or damage to the retina. Vegetarians have an option of omega 3 fatty acid derived from algae.

Across some regions, religions, socioeconomic strata, & level of education, girl child is neglected. Children are otherwise also prone to malnourishments because of their food preferences and frequent cough colds & post measles .Supplements of vitamin A & C is good when required.

Contact lenses:

Studies show that women wear contact lenses more, compared to men because of the fact that glasses tend to hide the natural (beautiful) look of the eye. Generally, more women than men wear contact lenses because of aesthetic reasons. Make sure that your contacts are appropriately fitting (on your corneal base curve) for your cornea, clean and disinfected so that no external body enters the eyes. When there is poor eye hygiene or extended wear of contact lenses, the eyes can become infected. The cornea is at risk of scarring and this can lead to blindness.  Clean the lens case & change lens solution every day, if you are not wearing daily disposable contact lenses. Do not over wear your contact lenses, have a smart well corrected glasses option always with you. Those using colored contacts lenses, kindly ensure that they are of good quality & fitting. A routine visit to your eye specialist to ensure the health of your eyes is a must for all contacts users to check for eye infections, allergies, contacts intolerance & cornea changes (Remove contacts at least 24 -48 hours before an eye checkup)

Cosmetics:

Don’t mess up with your eyes by applying expired make-up! When eye cosmetics are not properly removed, makeup and dirt can become trapped at the base of the eyelashes. This is another cause of eye infection among women. Proper application and complete removal of eye makeup at the end of the day can help prevent the eye infections and eye damage. Some area have deep seated misbelieve that application of kajal, surma, kohl enhances eye beauty & enlarges the eye. This often leads to frequent chronic eye infections, scaring leading to lid deformities. Your eyes if properly taken care of can greatly enhance your overall beauty and can enable you to see the world in the clearest way possible.

Sunglasses:

When going outdoors, one must wear protective sunglasses. Constant and excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can damage the eyes. Common eye diseases like pterygium,macular degeneration have been linked to too much sun exposure. Choose sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Women and girls who are active in sports should also consider wearing protective eyewear, which can be easily bought at sporting goods stores. 

Post refractive surgery (post Lasik/PRK)

Glasses removal by surgery is far more common in females than males. Glasses removal surgery does not change the configuration of your eye, so regular checkup of eye and retina once a year with your eye specialist is a must. Post surgery problems like dryness, decreased sensitivity and glare is commonly experienced for which you can consult your eye specialist. Be on look out, if you observe some floaters or increase in there number. Computer use and office eye syndrome -dry eye disease is found in higher prevalence among women office workers working on visual display terminal(VDT) users.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated with lots of hormonal changes. This leads to water retention & some experience it as change in refractive error (glasses). Many patients become intolerant to contacts. Some pregnancies are associated with raised blood pressure & blood sugar levels; they too may affect pregnant lady’s vision. A good eye checkup with proper glasses correction during the second or third trimester is advised.

Computer users

Proper correction, posture, lubrication, lighting should be taken care...…Helpful eye care tips for computer users.

Systemic Diseases (Diabetes/Thyroid/Hypertension/Arthritis/Autoimmune diseases/obesity)

Women are prone to become overweight, especially with advancing age. This increases the risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. High blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, impairing normal vision. Diabetes also increases the risk of developing other eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Maintain a healthy weight and have regular blood tests if diabetes runs in the family. Thyroid & arthritis too affect women more commonly, presenting with dryness, grittiness, foregn body sensation. Thyroid may be associated with raised intraocular pressure, or limitation of eye movements. Women are eight times more prone to suffer from various auto immune diseases and they too have associated eye symptoms.


Oral contraceptives also are associated with increased incidence of dry eye symptoms:

Smoking

Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing dryness,cataracts, macular degeneration, and optic nerve damage. Girls should never start smoking and women who smoke should quit right away decreasing the risk of developing these eye conditions.

Menopausal

Women entering menopause too suffer from various hormonal changes/imbalances .This can affect eye by presenting as dryness, foreign body sensation, redness, heaviness.

Age associated diseases

Cataract, Age related macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma prevalence of many diseases increases with age. Women over age of sixty should go for a comprehensive eye check up at least once a year. Early detection leads to better management.

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