Oh… and it’s allergy season!
Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month is observed every April to create awareness about women’s increased susceptibility to issues with their eyesight and their higher risk of permanently losing their sight compared to men. Women need to be aware of this and take the necessary steps to prevent exposure to such risk.
An example of an eye condition that is more common in women than in men is chronic dry eye, often associated with rosacea, a health issue also prevalent in women. Chronic dry eye is also influenced by the changes in hormones during pregnancy and menopause.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) also encourages everyone to recognize April as Sports Injury Safety Month. Each year, an estimated 40,000 people in the United States experience sports-related eye injuries and about 13,500 of these injuries result in permanent vision loss. In support of Sports Injury Safety Month, the AAO reminds athletes everywhere that the vast majority of sports-related eye injuries can be avoided by simply wearing the proper protection.
Eye injuries can happen in almost any sport, but some sports are higher risk than others. One study determined that basketball causes the most vision injuries, followed by baseball, softball, rifle-related sports, racquetball and hockey. Athletes playing sports such as ice hockey, field hockey, racquet sports, soccer should consider wearing shatterproof polycarbonate glasses or goggles or a full shield connected to their helmet to prevent injury. Unfortunately, combat sports such as martial arts and boxing, which are also high risk for eye injury, do not offer satisfactory vision protection.
Finally, let’s not forget about allergy season! Spring brings tree and flower pollen that makes our noses start running and eyes itchy and watery. There are some steps you can take to help keep your eyes comfortable during allergy season, including:
- Wear sunglasses outdoors. Sunglasses will help keep pollen out of your eyes and reduce irritation caused by wind and sunlight on your eyes
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes will only make things worse
- Use cold compresses. Applying cold compresses helps reduce inflammation
- Use over-the-counter antihistamine drops. Antihistamine drops help reduce inflammation and relieve itching (check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to using)
- Take a shower in the evening to wash any pollen out of your hair
- Change your pillowcase often to avoid contact with pollen that may have transferred from your hair
Remember, eyes are more valuable than diamonds… handle them with loads of care!