Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to main content

Women’s Eye Health Month

I have had terrible vision since I was a child. When I visit a new eye doctor and they see my contact lens prescription of -7.25, I often get expressions of shock or sympathy. While having such bad eyesight can be inconvenient, it has also led me to know more than the average person does about eye-related issues.

One of the smaller but still important things I must pay attention to is that I must wear contact lenses every day. Of course, I could wear glasses but with such a big difference between what I would see above and below the lens line and what I see through the glasses, it can be jarring and disorienting, so I choose to wear contacts except at night and in the mornings. I have to be stringent with my contact lens hygiene. I am sure to wash my hands before I touch my eyes or my contacts and I need to change my contact lenses when they expire.

I was told when I was in my twenties that because I am very nearsighted, I have an increased risk of retinal detachment. And I didn’t just leave the office with a new prescription in hand, I left with a new thing to worry about! The ophthalmologist informed me that retinal detachment is when the retina (a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye) pulls away from where it is meant to be. She also let me know that symptoms include a lot of “floaters” (small specks that seem to float across your line of vision) in your eye and flashes of light. To this day, if I see a flash of light out of the corner of my eye, I think, “Oh no, it’s happening!” only to realize it’s just someone taking a photo across the room or a flash of lighting. I began to overanalyze every floater I saw, trying to decide if they were too many. The fear was on my mind quite a bit.

To make matters somewhat worse but also somewhat better, not long after that, a coworker of mine had retinal detachment! While this only made the possibility of it seem more real, it also gave me the chance to really talk to someone who had experienced it firsthand. I learned that this wasn’t just a quick flash and a few floaters. The symptoms were extreme and impossible to ignore. This put me a little more at ease, and I didn’t need to worry unless things got unmistakably bad.

I learned that even though, with age, the risk increases, there are a few ways to prevent retinal detachment. You can wear goggles or protective gear while doing risky activities, like playing sports. You can also get checked yearly to ensure there are no signs of tearing; early intervention is the best chance for treatment. I learned that if these symptoms do present, the sooner I can get medical attention, the better. My coworker’s eyesight was saved by his quick action

So, like with many other medical conditions, knowing the risks and symptoms, getting regular check-ups, and seeking help as soon as an issue begins are the best chances for success. Being on top of scheduled appointments is important to me and being aware of what I need to do if an issue should arise.

In honor of Women’s Eye Health Month, here is more information on other conditions that women are specifically at risk for when it comes to their eyes and eyesight: