Women Not Closing the Gender Gap on Eye Disease

VANCOUVER, May 3, 2017 /CNW/ - May is Vision Health Month, and BC Doctors of Optometry (BCDO) are encouraging British Columbians to make eye health a priority. According to a study from the National Eye Institute, women are more likely than men to suffer from vision impairment conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and glaucoma1.

"More than five and a half million Canadians suffer from a major eye disease that contributes to vision loss, and these conditions in Canada are continuing to rise," says Dr. Gurpreet Leekha, president of BC Doctors of Optometry. "The prevalence of women's vision conditions exceeding men could be attributed to a variety of factors, one being the aging population and women's tendency to have a longer life expectancy, another factor is hormonal fluctuations that can be experienced by women of all ages." 

Despite this gap, BCDO is urging both men and women to make regular comprehensive eye exams a part of their preventative healthcare routine. More than half of Canadians who skip regular visits to their optometrist do so because they think that if their vision is adequate then their eyes are healthy. However, many serious diseases don't have obvious symptoms in the early stages, when detection and treatment can help avoid unnecessary permanent vision loss and damage elsewhere in the body. A comprehensive eye exam does more than test your vision, it may save your sight, and even your life.

"We are reminding British Columbians to think about an eye exam as a physical for their eyes. When we examine your eyes, we get a close-up look at your blood vessels, optic nerves and other complex eye structures, all of which contain clues about your eyes and overall body health" says Dr. Leekha. "In addition to detecting eye conditions and maintaining your vision health, a comprehensive eye exam can detect a range of underlying medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, high cholesterol or tumors."

BCDO recommends British Columbians undergo a comprehensive eye exam every two years, and annually for those over 65. Furthermore, vision health is not exclusive to adults. Children should have their first eye exam between six and nine months, their second between two and five and annually thereafter.

About BC Doctors of Optometry

BC Doctors of Optometry is dedicated to advancing the profession of optometry, and is the voice on issues affecting the eye health of all British Columbians. Doctors of Optometry are a primary source for vision, eye health and eyewear needs. Doctors of Optometry diagnose, treat and help prevent diseases and disorders affecting the eyes and the visual system, and also assist in identifying general health conditions that are often first detected through an eye exam.

For more information or to find a BC Doctor of Optometry, visit www.bc.doctorsofoptometry.ca and https://www.facebook.com/BCDoctorsofOptometry/

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1 National Eye Institute

SOURCE BC Doctors of Optometry

For further information: Media Contact: Jackie Warren, Edelman, P: 604-648-3455, E: Jackie.warren@edelman.com


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