Glaucoma Prefers Women: Why women are at higher risk of Glaucoma

women covering her eyes with hands

Several factors put women at a disadvantage for Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Estrogen & Glaucoma

One, the relation between estrogen and the optic nerve has been the subject of many research studies. Estrogen has found to form a protective effect on the optic nerve and loss of estrogen through early menopause or long-term usage of birth control pills ultimately contributes to causing Glaucoma.

Age & Glaucoma Secondly, since advanced age is a major risk factor for Glaucoma and women live longer than men, it can explain the higher occurrences of Glaucoma in women.  Also, since estrogen loss is associated with age, this becomes a double-pronged sword for older women.

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Gender & Glaucoma

Thirdly and most importantly, women face disadvantages due to socio-economic conditions, gender disparities and health beliefs. Women are less likely to receive healthcare in India and most women, especially in rural areas play a care-giver role, putting their own health aside until the symptoms are too apparent to ignore.

Glaucoma Symptoms & Diagnosis

Glaucoma usually has no symptoms until the disease has progressed to a point of damaging the sight. Therefore, it is important for women to have regular eye-checkups after 35. Ophthalmologists need to be aware that changing levels of hormones in different phases of a woman’s life can influence clinical measurements. 

At Sri Specialty Eye Care our specialists ensure the diagnosis reflects such changes, such as during pregnancy and throughout the menstrual cycle. If our doctor suspects glaucoma, they advise specific ophthalmic investigations such as visual field testing to confirm diagnosis. These tests are then repeated at regular intervals to monitor for progress. Sri Specialty Eye Care ensures treatment for each Glaucoma patient is customized according to their specific diagnosis, age, gender and other factors.

It is recommended to get eye-checkups every two years for women over 35 and every year for women over 60. Women who have other glaucoma risk factors such as diabetes, myopia, eye-injury and who have used corti-steroid eye-drops regularly should get more frequent eye check-ups. Even if at the first visit, Sri Specialty Eye Care strongly recommends practicing caution and getting your eyes checked at regular intervals. To see a detailed list of symptoms please visit Glaucoma | Sri Eye Care.

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Glaucoma Prevention & Treatment

Regular exercise can keep blood flowing to the nerves in your eyes and protect or give relief against Glaucoma. Although some types of exercises can do the opposite and can increase the risk of Glaucoma, so do talk to your doctor about which activities are best for you.  A healthy well-rounded diet rich in antioxidants can reduce the symptoms and even delay the onset of Glaucoma. Smoking & caffeine both increase your eye pressure. An easy habit to form is to elevate your head with a pillow which reduces eye pressure.

Once diagnosed, your doctor may use prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, or microsurgery to lower pressure in your eye. To learn more about the various treatments visit Glaucoma | Sri Eye Care

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