Women Must Make Their Own Eye Health a Priority

Over 3.4 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from visual impairment, and 2.25 million are women. In fact, of the four leading causes of blindness in older Americans- age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the rate of women’s cases outnumbers the men in all four categories.

Women are more prone than men to AMD in particular, which destroys central vision, with 1 million of the 1.6 million cases diagnosed to females, according to the Vision Problems in the U.S. report by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and the National Eye Institute. Cataract, a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, affects 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. Almost 13 million of those cases are women. Glaucoma, a disease that causes the degeneration of cells that make up the optic nerve, continues to plague the population. Close to 60 percent of glaucoma cases are women. Diabetic retinopathy, where blood vessels in the retina can break down, leak or become blocked, affects more than 5.3 million Americans, with women making up over 2.8 million cases. I am very familiar with the affects of glaucoma. I was diagnosed with advanced stage glaucoma in 2003. I lost complete sight in one eye and partial sight in the other.

The total number of eye disease cases is steadily on the rise. The increased longevity of our aging population is one attributable factor. As the life expectancy rises (now at 76 years of age), the natural progression of low vision occurs. And because women on average tend to outlive men, the numbers of visual ailments increases. Obesity, also on the rise in the U.S., is a major contributor to diabetes, therefore increasing the rate of diabetic eye disease. PBA has dedicated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety month and encourages women to make their own health a priority. Many women may feel they need to put the health of their children and spouses in front of their own, but need to be reminded that they are just as important. Scheduling eye appointments for the entire family, including themselves, is one way to make sure women are getting the care they need.

Besides early detection, Prevent Blindness America offers other ways for women to keep their eyes healthy:

Eat Healthy and Stay Fit- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the risk of cataracts can be lowered by eating 3 1/2 servings of fruits or vegetables a day. Green leafy vegetables especially contain loads of nutrients for the eye. Pairing a healthy diet with exercise will reduce the risk of obesity, leading to diabetes.

Take Supplements- Antioxidants have been shown to actually reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including AMD. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health.

Quit Smoking- Besides the typically known side effects of smoking including cancer, lung disease, etc., it also increases the risk for eye diseases.

Wear UV Eye Protection- When venturing outdoors, Prevent Blindness America recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses (labeled: absorbs 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays). UV rays are extremely dangerous for the eyes.

Know Your Family History- Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Research your family’s health history and notify your eye care professional of any eye diseases that run in the family.

Take Care of Cavities for Less: How to Save on Dental Care

Individuals that do not have dental insurance are aware of the rising cost of healthcare. They can tell their friends exactly how much it is going to cost for a filling or to have a tooth pulled. These are the same people that avoid going to the dentist because they cannot afford it.

It does not have to be that way. There are plenty of options available for individuals that do not have insurance. Instead of avoiding the dentist, check out these options to make care more affordable.


Dental plans remain a popular option for individuals and families that do not have insurance. These plans work similar to insurance. People on a dental plan get a list of providers that they can go see, and then they receive care at a discounted cost. It is like having a coupon for coverage.

Most of these have specific providers that they work with, just like insurance does. These providers will take the membership card, apply the savings, and then send the patient the bill for the rest, just like with insurance.


Speaking of coupons, this is another great way to save money. Coupons are not just for the grocery store anymore. Now, dentists often offer their own coupons. This may be a free exam or x-rays. It could also mean getting certain procedures at a discounted cost.

Some businesses advertise coupons or promotions on commercials, some of them have coupons that customers can print offline, and others will offer them when they come in. To find out, patients usually call the business and ask about the price of a procedure.

Opt for Cheaper Services

Sometimes, it may be cheaper to get an alternative service. For example, instead of having a filling to fix a cavity, it can be cheaper to get the tooth pulled. Schedule a consultation with a dentist to see which options are available, and then opt for the cheaper service.

Taking the time to learn about which services offer greater savings through certain dental plans can also help save money. Some dental plans may offer greater savings for fillings versus having a tooth pulled, making it cheaper to get a tooth filled. Other plans may offer savings for more expensive procedures, but not offer savings for cheaper services, such as fillings.

Look at the dental plan, coupons, etc. and speak with a dentist to determine which procedure will be cheaper to save money on the next dentist visit.

Preventative Care

Most individuals don’t think about preventative care until it is too late, but it might not be too late for all of the teeth. If one tooth has a cavity, it may be a sign of a vitamin deficiency, or even gum disease.

Instead of focusing on fixing the current problem, individuals should speak with a dentist about the causes of cavities, and how to prevent them in the future. This is the easiest way to save money on the next trip to the dentist.

Shop Around

Different providers charge different amounts. Most individuals do not realize this until they do not have insurance and visit more than one dentist. The savings may only be a few dollars, but it could also mean saving a few hundred dollars.

Call different dentists and ask them how much a certain procedure would cost to save more money.

Not being able to afford care that is desperately needed can make life miserable. People will not be able to enjoy the foods they love, and children can suffer developmental delays. Instead of dealing with the pain, use these tips to get cavities taken care of at the lowest price possible.