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  • July 28, 2014

Women & Vision Loss: Save Your Sight - Ladue News: Health-wellness

Women & Vision Loss: Save Your Sight

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Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 12:00 pm

As the population ages and women statistically outlive men, a number of age-related diseases will become more prevalent in women. Among the most disabling, age-related eye conditions that can steal sight.

In terms of specific eye conditions, “the only eye disease that affects women more than men is dry eye syndrome—and only after menopause,” says Dr. Joseph Gira, an ophthalmologist with Ophthalmology Consultants Ltd. “This is largely due to the hormonal effects on tear production,” he continues. “Dry eye may sound trivial, but it can cause permanent vision loss if not treated or if severe.”

Gira notes that there are several effective therapies for treating dry eye. These include artificial tears, topical medications, including Restasis and steroids, oral medications and punctal plugs. “There’s not much can be done to prevent dry eye, but earlier intervention and treatment can prevent it from getting worse,” he adds.

Cataracts and macular degeneration are other age-related eye conditions known to cause vision loss. Both men and women are susceptible to these conditions as they age, and the older one gets, the greater the risk. Treatments are the same for men and women, and depend on severity of the condition and other individual factors.

“The most important thing that women should know about preserving their vision is to see their eye doctor,” Gira says. “There are many things that can be discovered during a routine check-up. By the time someone notices a problem with their vision, it can sometimes be too late to do anything. Seeing your eye doctor once a year is sufficient. Another important thing that is often overlooked is protecting one's eyes from ultraviolet light using sunglasses and hats. UV light not only causes cataracts, but also macular degeneration.”

Women can learn more about caring for their eyes via Women’s Eye Health (w-e-h.org), advises Dr. Christine Broeder, an optometrist at Eyewearhaus. Another resource is See Jane See: Women’s Healthy Eyes Now (seejanesee.preventblindness.org), a program sponsored by the national organization Prevent Blindness.

“It is imperative that we inform women about protecting their vision today in order to save sight for tomorrow,” said Hugh Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “By creating the See Jane See program, we are able to provide a place where women can find current news and invaluable information that’s dedicated specifically to them and their needs.”

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