Did you know women are at greater risk for eye disease and visual impairments?

Women account for more than two-thirds of the world’s population of blind and visually impaired persons.
A group of doctors and researchers created the Women’s Eye Health organization and website to provide the knowledge women need to understand their risk, protect their vision, improve their eyesight, and empower their families.
This website is produced in partnership with the National Eye Health Education Program and Women in Ophthalmology and features content written by women for women.

Understand Your Risk

The leading causes of blindness and low vision worldwide are cataracts, uncorrected refractive error, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Worldwide more women than men are blind or have low vision due to cataracts and AMD. Dry eye disease and autoimmune diseases are also intrinsically more prevalent in women than in men.
Because women in the United States, on average, live longer than men, they have a much greater prevalence of common, serious, age-related eye diseases, specifically AMD and glaucoma. Read more about each condition below.

Protect Your Vision

It’s been estimated that three-quarters of blindness and vision loss is either preventable or treatable. There are several lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk for eye disease.

Improve Your Eyesight

Women may think they’re just too busy with children, jobs, or elder care to get an eye exam or new eyeglasses. But poor vision can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being.

Empower Your Family

Did you know many of the same steps you can take to protect your own vision extend to protecting the vision of your loved ones?

About Us

Women’s Eye Health formed in 2001 in response to the troubling reality that more than two-thirds of the world’s population of blind and visually impaired persons are women.
This website is produced in partnership with the National Eye Health Education Program and Women in Ophthalmology and features content written by women for women.

Contact Us

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Autoimmune Diseases

What are they?

The autoimmune diseases (also called rheumatoid diseases) are chronic, systemic illnesses that affect the whole body. They result from an attack by the patient’s immune system upon some parts of his or her own body. These diseases cause a lot of inflammation and destruction of cells in the tissues they attack. This destruction has very serious health consequences. Depending on which disease the patient has, bones, nerves, glands, and other important organs can be destroyed. Some of the more-prevalent autoimmune diseases—rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis—are associated with serious eye symptoms. Most of the autoimmune diseases are gender-associated and are usually much more common in women. For example, of the million or so Sjögren’s sufferers in the United States, 90% are women. 

What are some of the symptoms?

We will not mention any non-eye symptoms here. Sjögren’s syndrome is the autoimmune disease that causes the most eye-related disease. Patients suffer from very severe dry eye disease because the immune system destroys the glands that produce the tear film that lubricates the surface of the eye.

All of the autoimmune diseases listed above (multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjögren’s) can be associated with optic nerve inflammation (optic neuritis), vasculitis in the eye, uveitis, and retinopathy. In fact, the first symptom of MS is often temporary blurring or loss of vision, usually in one eye. These symptoms are due to the inflammation caused by these diseases.

How can autoimmune diseases be prevented?

To date, medical science knows of no way to prevent the autoimmune diseases, or their eye manifestations, from occurring. You must be under the care of a specialist, if you have any of the autoimmune diseases, so that flare-ups, in the eye and elsewhere, can be controlled as much as possible.

Women’s Eye Health

Partnerships