April has the distinction of being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month and you may be wondering what differentiates women’s vision issues from those of men. Eye doctors report that women encounter many eye health issues simply as a result of their gender.

Effects of Hormones
As women age, their bodies experience fluctuations in their hormone levels, specifically estrogen and progesterone. This shift in hormones often causes dry eye syndrome where the eye produces less natural lubrication to keep the eyes moist. Eye doctors typically prescribe drops to help mitigate the discomfort that results from this issue. Pregnant women may also experience dry eye and corneal swelling as their hormones change throughout the course of the pregnancy.

A woman’s eye structure is physically different from that of a man, and the shallower chamber between the iris and the pupil raises the risk for glaucoma. This occurs when eye fluid does not drain effectively and then increases eye pressure. This can be a dangerous situation resulting in vision loss. Pressure build up gradually damages the optic nerve, stealing your vision.

Life Span
Since women tend to live longer than their male counterparts, their risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) can be significantly higher. In cases of ARMD the central part of the retina experiences a build up of deposits that gradually obscures the central part of your visual field. This is a permanent condition with no current cure.

Eye Safety
Women may expose themselves to eye safety hazards daily when they apply eye makeup. Most cosmetics are put through rigorous testing before approved for sale in the U.S. but the search for the exotic may lead to the discovery of cosmetics from abroad. Unapproved ingredients like kohl and other pigments can cause substantial harm to your eyes, even blindness. Eye doctors treat bacterial and chemical issues related to this issue more often than you might expect. Steer clear of products that have not been approved for U.S. sale.

While men are more typically injured playing sports than are women, a woman may avoid wearing protective eye equipment in the name of vanity. Always use common sense during activities and wear safety eyewear. Even the best eye doctors may not repair your sight once it has been lost.

Women have an increased risk of vision issues that may lead to blindness so should be especially vigilant with their eye health.