Women’s Eye Health Awareness
April is Women’s Eye Health Month. Women are at higher risk for certain eye diseases, and this is an excellent time to educate patients on these risks. According to the National Eye Institute, two-thirds of the global population suffering from visual impairments or blindness are women.
Prevent Blindness designated this month to spread awareness on women’s eye health issues and to encourage proper eye care habits. Women’s eye health deserves a spotlight for several reasons:
- Women have a longer life expectancy, making them more susceptible to age-related eye diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
- Dry eye syndrome is common in women, especially in postmenopausal women or those with hormonal imbalances.
- Women are at higher risk for autoimmune diseases that affect the eyes, including Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Pregnant women are at risk for diabetes and hypertension, as well as refractive changes that may occur during pregnancy.
- Women are more likely to be the primary decision-maker for the health care needs of their households. They may prioritize their family’s health care over their own.
Share Eye Health Advice With Patients
To help spread awareness on these important issues, here are six tips you can share with your patients in the office (or via email):
- Have regular eye exams, especially women over age 40. Advise patients on potential vision and eye health changes that occur with age. Educate them on why a dilated eye exam is necessary even if they are not having eye symptoms.
- Be aware of family history. Ask patients if they are aware of any hereditary eye diseases in their families. Encourage them to discuss with other family members.
- Do not smoke cigarettes. Most people are familiar with the effects of cigarettes on the lungs and cardiovascular system. However, they may not be aware of the harmful effects of smoking on the eyes, such as a higher risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Eat a balanced diet. Encourage patients to consume eye-healthy foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Or, recommend the appropriate eye vitamin supplements as needed.
- Practice safe use of contact lenses. Re-educate patients on proper contact lens hygiene, even if they have worn contacts for years. Some patients develop poor habits over time or never received appropriate advice on contact lens usage.
- Wear sunglasses outdoors. Remind patients to use sunglasses with 100% UV protection when driving or spending time outdoors during the day, even on overcast days. Adding a brimmed hat provides extra protection.
Encourage Annual Eye Exams
At R&D Optical Lab, we support practices in promoting healthy eyes. We are recommending that opticals do their part and encourage patients, especially women, to schedule yearly eye exams.
If your opticians notice that an eyeglass prescription is expiring soon, have them offer an eye exam. If a patient states that their vision seems fine and they do not need a new prescription, your staff can educate the patient on the health benefits of an eye exam.
We are here to support you and your patients any way we can. Please visit our website RandDOptical.com or call us at 513-273-4034 to learn more about our optical products. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!