Common Vision Problems In Women And How To Tackle Them

Juggling work and home is no easy task; ask a woman and she will always answer, “it’s part of being a woman” with a disarming smile. When it comes to women, family, friends and work will always take precedence, and more often than not her health—especially eye health—takes a back seat.

Women’s Day is celebrated with much pomp and splendor, but most of us don’t see beyond chocolates and dinner dates. This year, we encourage all women to put themselves first and take charge of their eye health. Life’s too short to take your eyes for granted, ladies.

FACT: Women are more prone to eye diseases than men

This Women’s Day, resolve to take action. Don’t wait for problems to arise or symptoms to worsen before you call your doctor. #ChooseToChallenge eye conditions, because prevention is always better than cure! So here’s a list of six common eye conditions that women need to be on top of.

1. Cataracts

According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, women’s chances of developing cataracts—the clouding of the lens of the eye —are 69 percent more than their male counterparts. While this could be, in part, attributed to women’s longer life expectancy, gender disparity and lack of awareness—in most cases, lack of estrogen after menopause also explains the prevalence of cataracts in women. So ladies, rush to your ophthalmologist if your eyes are not able to focus clearly on objects up close.

How to identify the problem?

Cataracts usually appear as a cloudy area in the lens of the eye leading to partial or complete loss of vision.

What can you do?

First things first, visit an ophthalmologist. There are many effective treatments for cataracts such as better light sources and eyeglasses for mild cases. For more severe cases, eye surgery is the only option. But there’s nothing to be afraid of, it is usually a safe and effective procedure.

How to prevent it?

Women, you can slow the development of cataracts by:

  • Protecting their eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. Wearing a hat with a wide brim and a pair of polarized sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.
    Try the ultra-protective Brown Polarized Full Rim Aviator Sunglasses by Vincent Chase that features extra coverage on the side of the lenses or the super-trendy oversized Purple Transparent Blue Gradient Full Rim Cat Eye Polarized Sunglasses by Vincent Chase for protective shielding.
  • P.S.: Sunglasses add a cool factor to your outdoor look, so why wait?

  • Maintaining a healthy weight helps reduce the risk of developing medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions also increase your risk of developing cataracts.
  • Including a balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables helps provide essential minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for healthy vision.

2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD is a condition where your central vision starts to deteriorate. It usually affects women over the age of 50. Besides risk factors like family history, race, smoking, and high blood pressure, gender also plays a crucial role in the development of early AMD. Studies suggest that in women, higher levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol contribute to early AMD compared to their opposite sex.

How to identify the problem?

The key symptom is blurred or fuzzy vision in the center. It can be a gradual or sudden distortion in vision. Make an appointment with your eye doctor for the slightest problems with vision.

What can you do?

While there is no cure for this condition, treatments only slow down the progress and prevent complete vision loss.

How to prevent it?

Women can reduce the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration by:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet of leafy green veggies, fish and nuts.
  • Taking multivitamins. Consult your ophthalmologist.
  • Exercising five days a week for at least 30 minutes.

3. Presbyopia

Did you know, women are at a higher risk of developing severe presbyopia than men? Presbyopia is a common disorder that affects women in their 40s. With age, your lens loses flexibility and begins to stiffen. As a result, your lens ceases to change shape and constrict to focus on close images; which in its healthiest state focuses light directly onto your retina. When your eyes aren’t able to focus on up-close objects and small prints clearly, get them checked for presbyopia.

How to identify the problem?

If you find yourself holding a book or other reading material farther away from your eyes to make it easier to read, you may have presbyopia.

What can you do?

A rather effective process to restore your reading vision is laser eye surgery. But the easiest way to tackle this issue is by keeping a pair of reading glasses with you all the time. A pair of ultra-thin reading glasses in your purse is a must-have for every woman who has presbyopia. We suggest Lenskart’s revolutionary ThinOptics Eyeglasses that feature easy-to-carry pods, which can be attached to the back of your phone’s cover or case. Hence, carrying it in your wallet, purse or pocket becomes even more convenient!

How to prevent it?

Although it’s just a part of normal aging, here are a few ways to prevent this condition.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy

Your retina plays a vital role in transforming light into signals that your brain can process. Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye condition where the retina swells causing a blockage through overgrown or leaking blood vessels. Women face a higher risk of developing diabetes and diabetic retinopathy, especially if one develops gestational diabetes.

How to identify the problem?

The most common symptom is dark spots or strings floating through your line of vision (floaters). Impaired color recognition, blurry or fluctuating vision are other symptoms that women should look out for.

What can you do?

Diabetes management such as diet modifications and insulin is the first step towards treating this condition. However, advanced cases may require laser treatment or surgery. Your ophthalmologist will suggest the right treatment after careful evaluation.

How to prevent it?

Controlling your blood sugar levels and blood pressure is the key to prevent diabetic retinopathy and other eye complications. To detect diabetic eye problems early, it is very important to get a dilated eye exam every year.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive condition caused by a damaged optic nerve, which can lead to blindness. This damage is often caused by abnormally high pressure in your eye. This gradually robs you of your peripheral sight, and later even the central vision diminishes. Research states that older women with decreased estrogen exposure are more likely to develop glaucoma.

How to identify the problem?

It is difficult to identify glaucoma in its nascent stages as there are no symptoms apart from a slow loss of vision. Over time, you can experience:

  • Severe eye pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting
  • Sudden visual disturbance in low light conditions
  • Halos around lights
  • Blurred vision or redness of the eyes

What can you do?

Work with your eye doctor to keep your eye pressure under control. Treatment includes prescription eye drops and surgery.

How to prevent it?

The best way to prevent glaucoma is regular eye examinations, especially for women who have a family history, are diabetic, and over the age of 40.

6. Dry Eye Syndrome

If your glands do not produce enough tears or if your tears evaporate too quickly leaving your eyes dry and gritty, get them checked for dry eye syndrome. Other than the use of eye makeup, such as mascara and eyeliner, the fluctuation of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone among other hormones also affect the quality and production of tears. All these factors make women more susceptible to dry eye syndrome compared to men.

How to identify the problem?

Redness is the most tell-tale sign of dry eyes. Other symptoms include a burning sensation with every blink, discomfort, and sensitivity to light.

What can you do?

Over-the-counter artificial tears or prescription eye drops usually help alleviate the condition. Other treatment options include medication and in severe cases, a procedure to block tear ducts that prevents moisture from escaping from the surface if the eye.

How to prevent it?

  • For women, hormonal changes during menopause increase the risk of many eye complications including dry eye syndrome.
  • If you are on medication such as blood pressure drugs and antidepressants then keep a bottle of prescription eye drops handy.
  • If your eyes are constantly being exposed to smoke, dust and dry air then wear protective sunglasses.

These are just a few common eye conditions that affect women. We women are truly extraordinary, our bodies are in a constant state of change. Whether it is puberty, pregnancy, menopause or just the natural aging process, a woman’s body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes that can affect her eye health. That is why it’s even more crucial for women to regularly visit their eye doctor.

About Ruchika Srivastava

Ruchika is a content specialist at Lenskart. Four years ago, she lost her way to travel writing. An introvert and a minimalist, she enjoys being in a state of voluntary solitude as she perceives the world through her cat's eyes.