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Glaucoma & Your Eye Health What You Need To Know

Eye Doctor in Chicago | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Eye Doctor in Chicago | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over the age of 40. In honor of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, here’s what we think you should know about this sight-threatening eye disease.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, usually due to high pressure within the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP). Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss, known as ‘tunnel vision,’ and eventually blindness.

The ‘Silent Thief of Sight’

This serious eye condition is known as ‘the silent thief of sight’ as it is often diagnosed too late to avoid irreparable vision loss. This is because glaucoma does not cause pain or any obvious symptoms until the eye has been extensively damaged. The only way to reduce your risk of permanent vision loss is to undergo regular comprehensive eye exams starting from the age of 40, even if you show no symptoms.

Who’s at Risk?

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing glaucoma:

  • Age — your risk of developing glaucoma increases with age. Because this is true for several eye diseases, it is recommended that adults undergo yearly comprehensive eye exams beginning at age 40. This is usually the age when early signs of eye disease are detectable and changes in vision may begin.
  • Family history — people who have a close relative (parent or sibling) with glaucoma are up to 9 times more likely to develop the disease.
  • Nearsightedness — myopia, or nearsightedness, increases a person’s risk of developing glaucoma. The higher the myopia, the higher the risk.
  • Ethnicity — The African American and Hispanic populations are 3 times more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasians. Blindness due to glaucoma is about 6 times more prevalent in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans. Additionally, individuals of Asian heritage have a higher risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma, a sudden and acute form of the eye disease.
  • Other health conditions — Having diabetes puts a person at risk of developing glaucoma, and so does sustaining a previous eye injury.

Is There a Treatment for Glaucoma?

While glaucoma isn’t preventable, patients with glaucoma can undergo treatments to successfully control this condition and prevent vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma treatments include prescription eye drops, oral medications, and a variety of surgeries that reduce inner-eye pressure. Some procedures involve making small incisions in the eye to help fluid drain more easily, thereby reducing the pressure. Alternatively, small devices known as shunts or stents can be inserted into the eye to increase the flow of the fluid from the eye.

How We Can Help

Here’s a fact about glaucoma that may come as a surprise: half of all people with glaucoma don’t realize they have it! That’s why having yearly comprehensive eye exams is critical to detect underlying eye disease and begin treatment as soon as possible.

At Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, we offer comprehensive eye exams and other eye care services to help keep your eyes feeling and functioning at their best.

To schedule your eye exam, call Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today!

Flexible Spending Accounts & Vision Benefits

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam in Chicago

Prescription Eyeglasses & Eye Exam in Chicago

Over 50% of consumers didn’t use their vision benefits last year! Make the most of your 2021 vision benefits by understanding what your Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account cover.

How Does FSA Work?

When you sign up for an FSA, money from each paycheck is automatically deposited into an account. An FSA provides you with tax-free dollars that can be used to pay for health care expenses, including eye care needs.

An FSA usually covers vision expenses like:

  • Copayments and deductibles (but not insurance premiums)
  • Routine eye exams
  • Contact lenses
  • Prescription sunglasses

But here’s the catch: You must use your FSA benefits or you’ll lose them since they don’t roll over to the next year, unless your employer offers a short grace period to use the previous year’s benefits. To take advantage of this valuable benefit, schedule your annual eye exam.

How Does HSA Work?

Depending on your insurance plan, your employer may offer an HSA instead of an FSA. An HSA, which also offers tax-saving benefits, is typically offered with high deductible insurance plans. The difference between your FSA and your HSA is that the money put into an HSA does not have a “use it or lose it” policy. It can be used the next year.

Like an FSA you can usually utilize your HSA dollars to purchase glasses and pay for other vision-related expenses like eye exams, prescription sunglasses, and contacts.

The Importance of Eye Exams

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor can not only determine whether you need prescription glasses or contact lenses, but can also check for common eye conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

Regularly scheduled eye exams keep you and your eye doctor up to date with changes in vision and general health as you age. During a typical eye exam, your eye doctor will perform a series of tests designed to catch eye conditions and diseases early, before they cause irreversible damage.

After the age of 40, the risk of eye diseases increases, making regular eye exams even more important. Early detection is key to preventing and detecting eye health problems.

Visit your Eye Doctor Today!

The importance of a yearly eye exam is not only about safeguarding your vision; it’s also about safeguarding your general health. By observing changes in your vision and the eye itself, your eye doctor can detect early warning signs of health issues such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure before serious symptoms may occur. Start the new year looking great with clear, healthy vision by using your FSA and HSA benefits Go ahead and schedule that exam with Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates to keep your eyes healthy.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Eyes in 2021

Prescription Eyeglasses in Chicago | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Prescription Eyeglasses in Chicago | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

With 2021 just around the corner, you might be thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. Your eye health should be at the top of your priority list, and with the New Year nearly here, it’s important to maintain or create habits that will promote good health.

5 easy eye-healthy resolutions to consider adding to your list.

Schedule an Annual Eye Exam | Optometrist | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, now is the time to call and schedule an appointment. An annual eye exam is crucial because even if your vision and eye health seem fine, an exam can uncover the early stages of many eye diseases before they can cause irreversible damage. An eye doctor can even spot signs of other potential health issues by checking your eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even many cardiovascular conditions. So, start off the new year right with an eye exam.

Wear Sunglasses

The sun’s UV rays aren’t just harmful to your skin, but to your eyes as well. UV rays have also been shown to be a major contributing factor in the development of many serious eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. So start the new year wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays whenever you are outside during the day, no matter the season.

Rest Your Eyes

Daily and prolonged computer use can lead to computer vision syndrome. Eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes are just some symptoms that may occur when using a digital screen for long periods of time. Give your eyes regular relief by following the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.

Follow a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a popular New Year’s resolution, as many look towards being healthier after the holiday season. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, not just for your overall health but also to promote good vision.

A diet containing the right amount of certain vitamins and minerals can boost your eyes’ health and help reduce the risk of certain eye conditions and vision loss.

For example, vitamin C — found in oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and peppers — can help slow cataracts and prevent macular degeneration.

Vitamin E also serves as a great antioxidant and agent against cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin E can be found in many nuts and dried fruit, like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts, as well as dried apricots.

Educate Yourself!

Take the time to learn about common eye conditions, including the signs, symptoms, and causes, as this can help you recognize any changes in your vision. The earlier an eye condition is detected, the better chance you have of preventing or managing it.

If you notice any vision changes, or if it’s time for your annual eye exam, schedule an appointment with Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates for professional advice and treatment.

Why It’s Important to Wear Sunglasses, Even In The Winter!

Designer Sunglasses in Chicago

Designer Sunglasses in Chicago

Sunglasses are sometimes considered a summer-only accessory. The truth is that high-quality sunglasses are an essential component of keeping your eyes healthy all year round. In fact, certain factors make winter an even more important time to sport your sunnies. Below we’ll explain why.

Why Wear Sunglasses This Winter?

Shield Your Eyes From Damaging UV Rays

Over time, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of light can damage your eyes due to repeated and prolonged exposure. Studies have shown that excessive UV light exposure raises your risk of developing eye diseases like cataracts, eye cancers, macular degeneration, and growths on or around the eye. High exposure to intense levels of UV rays can also harm the eye’s cornea and lens.

While this is true year-round, the cold winter months can also pose a higher risk of increased UV exposure due to the wet and icy weather. Surfaces like water, snow, and ice can reflect up to 95% of UV radiation back into your eyes!

That’s why it’s important for both adults and children to wear high-quality sunglasses with 100% UV blocking lenses whenever they venture outdoors, especially if for extended times or over the middle part of the day. Rain or shine, sunny or cloudy weather — sunglasses are essential because up to 80% of UV light can pass through clouds.

Eye protection is especially important if you do outdoor winter sports. People who spend time in the snow or ice or on the water are especially prone to photokeratitis, a condition where overexposure to UV rays damages the cornea. Photokeratitis is especially common in high altitudes, where the air is thinner and therefore UV rays arrive at your eyes with a greater level of intensity..

Snow blindness is a form of photokeratitis and is common among snowboarders and skiers. Symptoms of snow blindness can include eye pain, swollen and red eyes, blurred vision, headache, and sensitivity to light. If the eyes are no longer subjected to any UV exposure, this condition can heal on its own within 48 hours, just as an ordinary sunburn would, but occasionally might require treatment from an eye doctor.

The good news is that snow blindness is preventable! Before you hit the slopes, make sure to get yourself a top-quality pair of sunglasses or UV-protected sports goggles to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

How You Can Protect Your Eyes This Winter

Invest in a high-quality pair of 100% UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses to wear whenever outdoors. Not only will they shield your eyes from UV light, but they’ll also act as a barrier between winter’s cold winds and your eyes.

Apart from wearing protective sunglasses, other things you can do to keep your eyes happy and healthy in the colder months include:

  • Using lubricating eye drops to keep your eyes sufficiently hydrated
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to offer added protection from sunlight and glare
  • Practicing good hygiene to avoid eye infections (pink eye tends to be more common in the winter)

If your eyes are giving you trouble this winter, we can help. To learn more or to schedule your comprehensive eye exam, contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today.

How Sugar Affects Your Eyes Health

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It’s well known that eating a lot of high-sugar foods can have harmful effects on the body. But did you know that consuming too much sugar can also potentially affect your eyesight? If your blood sugar (blood glucose) levels become too high for your body to break down, it can leave your eyes prone to a sight-threatening condition called diabetic retinopathy.

People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose be absorbed into your cells to supply them with the energy they require to function.

How Does Diabetes Affect Eyesight?

When you consume high-sugar foods like soda, candy, mangoes, and even pineapples, your body will do one of two things: either it will burn the sugar and use it for energy, or it will convert the sugar and store it as fat.

Ordinarily, when a person consumes sugar, the body releases insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. In people with Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin or the cells resist the effects of insulin, causing blood sugar levels to spike.

How Sugar Affects People with Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy affects up to 80 percent of people who have had diabetes for 20 years or more. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage the tiny blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye, causing them to swell and leak. Left untreated, this damage can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Since diabetic eye disease typically shows no symptoms until it has reached more advanced stages, it’s critical to have a comprehensive eye evaluation every year, allowing an optometrist to detect these signs early enough to prevent or halt vision loss.

Importance of Eye Exams

Your eye doctor can detect diabetic retinopathy during a dilated eye exam. The doctor will dilate your pupils with eye drops and then examine your eyes through a device called an ophthalmoscope that uses a bright light to examine your optic nerve, the blood vessels in and around the retina, and the back of the eye.

Your doctor might also use various specialized digital equipment, such as a fundus camera and an OCT device, to capture detailed color images of the retina that warrant further investigation.

Although an optometrist can use certain tests to detect signs of diabetes, without a comprehensive eye exam, the early warning signs that point to diabetes can be missed. To maintain your health, schedule regular eye exams and share any health changes that have occurred since your last appointment.

Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy

There are a variety of treatment options for diabetic retinopathy that may either prevent vision loss. Sometimes they can even improve your vision, even if your eyesight is already blurred. One treatment option entails medication that is injected into the eye to quickly reduce retinal swelling. Another option is laser surgery, which can be used to shrink and seal off swollen and leaking blood vessels in the retina.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Stick to a steady diet and exercise regimen
  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina over the long term

Preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy is possible and requires a team, including your eye doctor and other medical professionals.

Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy, assess its severity, and discuss preventative strategies as well as the latest treatment options.

Keep your eyes healthy and schedule an appointment with Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates and learn more about what you can do to protect your vision and general health.

5 Ways to Set Up Your Home Computer to Reduce Eye Strain

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates | Computer Glasses in Chicago

Nearly 60% of people who routinely use computers or digital devices experience symptoms of digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome — according to recent data. Since COVID-19 began, the number of hours spent on a computer for tasks like working from home, online schooling, and online shopping has increased dramatically.

Symptoms of computer eye strain include eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching, and red eyes.

If your eyes feel dry and tired, your vision is blurry by the end of the day, or your head, neck, and shoulders ache, the way you utilize your computer and other digital devices might be to blame.

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How to Reduce Eye Strain

Spending less time in front of your computer is the best way to reduce digital eye strain, but if you’re working from home or you or your children are learning online, that might not be an option.

Here are 5 steps you can take to lower your risk of eye strain:

1. Use proper lighting

Excessively bright light, either from sunlight or from interior lighting, can cause eye strain.

By reducing exterior light (by closing your drapes, shades or blinds), and tweaking the lighting inside your home (using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or lower intensity bulbs and tubes) you can lower glare and reflections off the screen.

Also, if possible, position your computer screen so the windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it.

2. Blink more often

When staring at a screen, people blink one-third less frequently than they normally do. Blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation.

To reduce your risk of dry eye during computer use, every 20 minutes blink 10 times by closing your eyes very slowly. This will lubricate your eyes and help prevent dry eye.

3. Relax your eyes

Constantly staring at a computer screen can lead to focusing fatigue, which causes digital eye strain. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds.

Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing lens inside the eye to reduce fatigue.

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates Eye Clinic and digital eye strain, eye health, reduce eye strain , eye exam, Optometrist, Eye doctor, Eye care in Chicago, Illinois

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Chicago eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

4. Take frequent breaks

Taking frequent breaks from your screen can help reduce eye strain and neck, back and shoulder pain during your workday.

It is recommended to take at least one 10-minute break every hour. During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle aches.

5. Modify your workstation

Poor posture also contributes to digital eye strain. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height so your monitor is not too close to, or too far from your eyes, or in a position that causes you to crane your neck.

Position your computer screen so it’s 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck. With this adjustment, you will not only reduce neck, back, and shoulder pain, but reduce eye strain as well.

Local digital eye strain, eye health, reduce eye strain , eye exam, Optometrist, Eye doctor, Eye care in Chicago, Illinois

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People experience different levels of digital eye strain, so if after you have shut down your computer the symptoms persist, then you may have a visual problem that requires attention from your eye doctor. If these symptoms are ignored and nothing is done to alleviate the eye strain the problem will only worsen.

Having a yearly checkup can help you preserve your eye health. Contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates to learn more about how to keep your eyes healthy and reduce eye strain when working on computers.

Call Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates on 773-775-0811 to schedule an eye exam with our Chicago optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Innovations in Color Blindness

Understanding the Eye Chart

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10 Steps to Prevent Vision Loss

Top 5 Holiday Gifts for People Who Wear Glasses

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The holiday season is upon us. For most people, that means going online or running to the mall to shop for gifts. When buying a present for someone who wears glasses it’s good to know what’s trending today. At Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates we carry the latest selection of designer frames, prescription eyeglasses and eyewear accessories.

Eye Doctor & Optical Store

If someone on your gift list wears glasses, below are 5 gift ideas to inspire you:

1. Gift Card

You can’t go wrong with a Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates gift card. Investing in a loved one’s vision goes beyond just providing clear vision. It shows them that you’re thinking of them and care about their health.

2. A Glasses Case

A quality pair of eyeglasses need to be protected. Buying a nice printed or colored eyeglass case allows people to keep their glasses protected in style. There are thousands of cases to choose from. A hard case is usually the best choice, as it delivers a higher level of protection. Consider your friend or loved one’s style preferences when shopping for the perfect case.

3. Eyeglass Repair Kit

An eyeglass repair kit may not be the most unique holiday gift, but it’s among the most useful gifts to have at home or when traveling. A repair kit usually comes with a microfibre cloth, screwdrivers, tweezers, and more. An eyeglass repair kit can be a lifesaver, especially during holidays and weekends, and for those who are often on the go.

4. NerdWax

Any eyeglass wearer will tell you how annoying it is to have to frequently push up their glasses from the bridge of their nose, or how frustrating those red marks on their nose can be because of their frames.

Nerdwax is a tube of wax that enables glasses to stay in place, all while stopping them from irritating the nose. This simple gift can bring increased comfort to the eyeglasses-wearer, enhancing their quality of life.

5. Cleaning Kit

Because eyeglasses require daily cleaning, an eyeglass cleaning kit is a great gift for those who regularly wear specs. Clean glasses not only offer clearer vision, but they help prevent glare, which enhances safety, particularly while driving. Using a proper cleaning kit also prevents the lenses from scratching and incurring permanent damage. A proper cleaning kit should include lens cleaning solution and at least one microfiber lens cloth.

With the assistance of our team, your gift recipient can choose from a wide selection of eye care products. Contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates to find out what a gift card can be used towards this holiday season.

3 Reasons to Avoid Buying Cheap Glasses

Best Eye Exam at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Best Eye Exam at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Tempting as it may be to buy your prescription glasses on the cheap, doing so can waste your money and endanger your eye health in the long run. Here are 3 reasons to avoid buying cheap glasses:

Poor Vision Correction

If your prescription is complicated, online retailers may not be able to produce the lenses needed to match your prescription. And prescription glasses that don’t match your vision requirements can cause more harm than good. It can lead to headaches, eye strain, and subpar vision, making everyday tasks like reading, working on a computer, and driving difficult.

Incorrect Fit

Purchasing eyewear from online retailers is often problematic as you aren’t being fitted by an actual person, and online face shape guides and measurements are notoriously inaccurate. In contrast, eye doctors and their qualified staff work face-to-face to take exact measurements to ensure that your glasses fit you perfectly, offering optimal comfort and clarity in your daily life. Moreover, any adjustments you may require can be done directly at the eye doctor’s office.

Poor UV Protection

When purchasing sunglasses, it’s important not to settle on a cheaper pair. While cheaper sunglasses may look and feel like luxury quality sunglasses, they don’t always offer the same level of protection. Protecting your eyes from UV rays is critical to protecting you from sight-robbing diseases, such as macular degeneration.

People commonly (and mistakenly) believe that the darker the lenses, the higher the level of protection from UV rays. Sunglasses labeled “polarized” and “100% UV protected” may still allow blue light and other harmful violet light to penetrate through the lenses. This is why it’s important to speak with your eye doctor to learn more about which lenses offer the best protection for your lifestyle needs.

So schedule an eye exam with our eye doctors at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates today and find the perfect pair for you!

Thanksgiving – A Time to Give Gratitude for Sight

The Importance of Eye Care - Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

As Thanksgiving approaches we are reminded to give thanks and show gratitude for the wonderful things and people we have in our lives. As you look around you this Thanksgiving, be thankful for the gift of sight.

We should never take our ability to see clearly for granted. The best way to protect vision is to schedule regular eye exams.

The Importance of Eye Care – Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Protecting your eyes should be at the top of your health priority list. That’s because 75% of visual impairment is preventable — if detected and treated early enough.

Some of the damage caused by eye disorders like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration can be prevented if the conditions are discovered and treated early on; but they can cause irreversible damage and even blindness if they go undiagnosed and untreated. By taking preventative measures and receiving treatment for your eye and vision problems before they become advanced, the greater your chance of maintaining clear vision and eye health.

One way to protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses, even in the winter. Sunglasses help prevent exposure to UV rays that can cause eye damage and cataracts. Make sure your sunglasses have a UV coating and the correct tinting. If you plan to wear your sunglasses in or around water or out in the snow, a polarized lens is recommended. This way your eyes are fully protected.

This Thanksgiving, count your blessings and be thankful for the gift of sight by taking care of your eyes. Get your eyes examined annually, and contact your eye doctor if you believe your vision has changed in any way.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Caramelized Walnuts

One of the best sources of vitamin A happens to be pumpkin and pumpkin pie is a delicious eye-healthy dessert. It’s a fact that 1 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains about 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A. Vitamin A provides nourishment and protection to the eye’s macula, lens, and cornea and often improves night vision.

Try this eye-healthy pumpkin pie with caramelized walnuts. Enjoy vision healthy foods this Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, count your blessings and be thankful for the gift of sight by taking care of your eyes. Get your eyes examined annually, and contact your eye doctor if you believe your vision has changed in any way.

During COVID times, taking care of our health is more important than ever. Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates understands the importance of healthy vision. We want you to be able to experience life to its fullest. Book an appointment today

Resource – Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Caramelized Walnuts

Are Eye Problems More Common in Women Than Men?

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Being a Woman Increases The Chances of Developing Eye Problems

When it comes to eye health and vision, men and women aren’t created equal. It might surprise you to learn that, worldwide, two-thirds of all cases of blindness and visual impairment occur in women.

Read on to learn why being a woman increases the chances of developing eye problems, and how regular visits to your eye doctor can help.

Longer Life Expectancy

Women live about 5 years longer than men on average. Moreover, women tend to remain healthier longer than their male counterparts. According to the World Health Organization, the average woman can expect to live a full 70 years before experiencing a major disease or injury, compared to 67 healthy years for a man.

But a woman’s increased life expectancy has significant implications when it comes to her eye health and vision. Age is a major risk factor for conditions and diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome.

The longer a woman lives, the more likely that she will develop a serious eye condition or disease.

Hormones

Women experience a remarkable amount of hormonal fluctuation throughout their lifespan. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all cause surges of estrogen, which can affect vision. Taking birth control pills also can cause visual or ocular symptoms, due to the varying levels of progesterone and estrogen.

Fluctuating estrogen levels can result in dry eye syndrome, which causes uncomfortable symptoms like red, itchy, watery eyes and, if untreated, possibly eye damage. Some women also experience blurred vision during estrogen surges. This is common during pregnancy but vision tends to normalize shortly after birth.

Medications

In almost every society around the world, women take more medication than their male counterparts. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications. What many don’t know is that several of these medications can pose significant risks to your eye health and vision, if taken in high dose and over an extended period of time.

Some medications that can affect your eyes include corticosteroids, antihistamines, antimalarials, and antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. Always consult your doctor before taking any prescription or nonprescription medications.

Autoimmune disorders

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s own immune system backfires and attacks the body’s own tissue. While the exact reason is still unclear, it is well documented that women have far more autoimmune diseases than men.

According to The National Institutes of Health, 75% of people living with an autoimmune disease are female. Some common autoimmune disorders that impact eye health include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgen’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism). These can cause symptoms like dry and red eyes, foreign-body sensation, pain, changes in vision, and sometimes vision loss.

What Can Women Do To Preserve Their Eye Health?

Whether you are male or female, taking a preventative approach to eye care is the best way to preserve your vision.

Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3’s, and zinc to support eye health. Quit or reduce smoking if you haven’t already. Also, limit your alcohol intake.

In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, a key factor in minimizing your risk of eye disease is seeing your eye doctor regularly.

Having frequent comprehensive eye exams allows your eye doctor to screen your eyes for early signs of disease. By detecting eye disease early, you’ll increase your chances of receiving effective treatment and preserving your vision.

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates optometrists in Chicago, Illinois provide expert eye exams and quality eye cae services.

Call to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

REFERENCES

Women are at Higher Risk for Eye Disease than Men

5 Reasons Why Women are at Higher Risk of Eye Disease

WHAT MAKES WOMEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO EYE DISEASES

Ocular Manifestations of Autoimmune Disease