May is Healthy Vision Month. CDC's Vision Health Initiative (VHI) is partnering with the National Eye Institute to encourage all Americans to make vision a health priority. This year, there's a particular focus on women's eye health, as women are at greater risk for vision loss than men. Did you know 2/3 of blindness and visual impairment occur in women?
Look Out For Your Eyes
Here are some eye-opening facts about vision health:
* Approximately 12 million people in the United States have vision impairment.
* Many eye conditions are age-related, like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Women generally live longer than men, so they are more likely to be affected by these conditions.
* Some eye conditions are linked to hormonal imbalances across a woman's life span, from pregnancy to post-menopause. An example is dry eye syndrome.
What You Can Do
Here are some ways to take care of your eyes:
* Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam, especially if it's been some time since the last one. Vision loss can be prevented when eye diseases are caught early.
* Talk to your family to learn about your family history of eye diseases. It is important to share your family history with your eye care professional.
* Quit or never start smoking because smoking increases your risk for AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma, which all can lead to blindness.
* Eat a healthy diet, rich in leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and fish.
* Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of eye disease and other chronic conditions like diabetes.
* Use them or lose them: use protective eyewear like sunglasses and goggles or risk losing your vision.
This May, take steps towards protecting your eyes and the vision health of your loved ones by learning about your risk for eye diseases. Look out for those eyes!