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

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Eye Health Provider Checklist

Print this page to bring with you to the eye doctor. (Download this checklist as a PDF)

Questions:

  • Do I need glasses? If so, for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia?
  • Do you see any sign of problems in my eyes?
    • Cataract?
    • Macular degeneration?
    • Glaucoma? Is my eye pressure normal?
    • Dry eye?
    • Early signs of other diseases?
  • Are there any medical conditions that I should be concerned about because of anything you noted during my eye exam?
    • Diabetes?
    • Hypertension?
    • High cholesterol?
  • When should I return for a follow-up exam?
  • When should I have my pupils dilated for a full exam?
  • Are there any eye diseases for which my family is at risk (e.g., age-related macular degeneration, genetic eye disease, or glaucoma)?

Six Signs of Eye Disease

  • Decreased vision: Difficulty seeing while reading, watching TV, driving, at work, or during recreation
    • Loss of peripheral or central vision
    • A curtain or veil coming over vision
    • Difficulty seeing to the side (e.g., when changing lanes in traffic)
    • Check for differences in the vision of each eye by covering them one-at-a-time
  • Eye pain
    • Sharp or dull pain
    • Persistent pain
    • Eye hurts when touched
    • Persistent feeling that something is in the eye
    • Any eye pain, especially if associated with any of the other warning signs listed here
  • Drainage from the eye or redness of the eye
    • Crusting of the eye, especially in the morning
    • Discharge from the eye, especially if associated with pain
  • Floaters and flashes
    • Spider webs, dots, and floating matter that move
    • Flashing or flickering lights
  • Seeing halos around lights
    • May be only present in the morning and improve later in the day
    • Increased glare, e.g., when looking at the headlights of oncoming cars
  • Double vision
    • Seeing two images, which may be side-by-side, up-and-down, or sideways
    • May resolve when you cover one eye

How to Protect Your Family’s Eye Health

  • Learn your family history of eye disease
  • Schedule eye exams for the whole family
  • Protect yourself and your family from eye injuries: Wear, and insist on, protective safety goggles for sports, recreation, as well as when working with tools, metal, or chemicals at home or school
  • Store household chemicals (e.g., cleaners, paints, fertilizers) safely
  • Take steps to avoid exposure to pellet guns, bb guns, bow & arrows, toys with missiles, and fireworks (These items can cause serious eye injury)
  • Protect yourself and your family from excess sun exposure: Wear sunglasses and/or a hat with a brim when outdoors
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Stop smoking or never start. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly.
  • Know and act upon the warning signs of eye disease

How to Find an Eye Doctor

The National Eye Institute offers tips and links to help you locate an eye care professional, see: http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/findprofessional.asp

Women’s Eye Health

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