Retinal Consultants of Arizona’s Dr. Karim Jamal Featured on Arizona Family Channel 3 to Promote Women’s Eye Health Awareness Month.
PHOENIX (KPHO/KTVK) – When it comes to protecting your health and your health care dollars, it is no surprise that prevention is the best medicine.
But the question is, how do you prevent something if you don’t realize your risk?
And it turns out many women don’t realize that when it comes to eye health, they are at greater risk than men.
That is something Phyllis Weingarten said she did not realize, although she was always careful to get an annual exam.
“I always had my eyes checked every year,” she said.
Which made it even more surprising how unexpectedly signs of macular degeneration showed up.
“I was looking through a camera lens and I couldn’t see anything and I thought it was the lens not me,” she said.
Dr. Karim Jamal with Retinal Consultants of Arizona said the experience is not unique.
“If one eye is having some damage occur to it, the brain will automatically fill in information from the other eye, so patients will not even notice something is wrong,” Jamal said.
He said not only can eye disease strike quietly, but most women are not aware they are at higher risk for macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, vision impairment and blindness.
“Nearly 90 percent of women had no idea there was a disparity between eye health between men and women,” Jamal said.
Additionally, women are less likely to get regular exams.
“Nearly 25 percent of women, even though they know they have a diagnosis or they know they should be getting a regular eye check, just don’t do it,” Jamal said.
He said your best defense to avoid long-term problems is to get an annual exam as early as age 40.
“And then depending on what the eye health professional finds, that professional will let them know do they need a yearly exam or maybe every two years or every three years,” Jamal said.
Weingarten headed in as soon as she noticed a problem, and while she still has suffered some vision loss, Jamal said without an exam the consequences are much worse.
“If we can catch any of these disease states early and treat them or monitor them regularly we can prevent a lot of blindness,” he said.
Jamal said he would like to see annual eye exams included in insurance plans just like other wellness visits.
Retinal Consultants of Arizona 602-222-2221
By Jay Crandall