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Information To Educate Your Patients During Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Information To Educate Your Patients During Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

24 March 2022

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Most of your patients are probably unaware that several eye conditions are more prevalent in women. April is designated as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to promote awareness of these issues. Women comprise:

  • 61% of patients with glaucoma  
  • ​​65% of patients with age-related macular degeneration 
  • 61% of patients with cataracts  
  • 56% of patients with refractive errors

Other eye diseases common in women:

  • Dry eye disease
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Thyroid eye disease

Pregnancy, Menopause and Eye Health

Women also experience unique eye health issues related to hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause. Pregnancy may cause physiologic changes to the eye and can affect preexisting diseases. Some of these conditions include:

  • Corneal changes such as decreased sensitivity, increased thickness and curvature related to fluid retention. These fluctuations can affect contact lens tolerance and induce temporary refractive changes.
  • Dry eye can result from changes in tear film physiology and is exacerbated by dehydration from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
  • Intraocular pressure decreases in healthy eyes and those with ocular hypertension. The most significant change in pressure occurs in the last trimester and typically returns to normal two months postpartum.
  • Ocular adnexa changes such as pigmentation and puffiness around the eyes or ptosis can occur during pregnancy. 
  • Diabetic retinopathy (DR) can be exacerbated by pregnancy. About 50% of patients with nonproliferative DR experience progression during pregnancy. Those with gestational diabetes are unlikely to develop retinopathy.
  • Preeclampsia and eclampsia are associated with changes resembling hypertensive retinopathy and symptoms like blurred vision, photopsia, scotomas and diplopia. Optic nerve findings and exudative retinal detachment may also occur.
  • Central serous chorioretinopathy is more likely to occur during the third trimester and usually regresses after birth.

In menopause, changes in estrogen and androgen levels affect the aqueous, lipid and mucin components of the tear film. There is mixed evidence on whether hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women affects dry eye positively or negatively. Other studies suggest that menopause may be associated with an increased risk for glaucoma.

Safety Eyewear To Consider

Safety glasses for women can differ from men’s eyewear in terms of frame sizes, and are made using materials capable of withstanding high impact. Any of these frames, which are carried by our independent lab, are up for the challenge.

  • Titmus Safety Frames (Honeywell)
  • Bolle’ Safety Frames
  • Hudson Safety Frames
  • USA Workforce Safety Frames (Artcraft)
  • 3M Safety Frames
  • OnGaurd Safety Frames
  • Armour X Safety Frames
  • Journeyman Safety Frames (Visual Eyes)

Spread Awareness Through Annual Eye Exams

Since women have a longer life expectancy, they are more susceptible to developing these eye diseases during their lifetime. However, studies find that after adjusting for age, women are still at higher risk for certain eye diseases. 

Although some of these age-related changes may not be preventable, early detection and management can significantly impact the visual outcome. As an Eye Care Professional, you may be the first to educate patients on their eye health and overall wellness. Talk to your patients about risk factors and encourage other women in their families to schedule eye exams. Provide personalized lens recommendations to address these risk factors or any existing conditions.

R&D Optical Lab carries an extensive line of optical products to serve all your patients’ needs. Please visit our website, RandDOptical.com, or call us at 513-273-4034 to learn how we can support your practice in promoting healthy vision. For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!

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