by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Men’s Health Month, celebrated in June, and International Men’s Health Week, which goes from June 13th through the 19th, aim to raise awareness of the diseases and illnesses that affect men living in the U.S. and around the world. The need for this initiative is underscored by studies that have shown that “Men are less likely to seek appropriate medical care” and “suffer more chronic health conditions.” In terms of eye health, men are at higher risk of developing such eye conditions as glaucoma. Early detection and treatment are vital to overall health and to preserving vision. In highlighting men’s health concerns, here are some common conditions that affect the eyes and can damage vision severely, along with information on protecting the eyes and fostering health awareness: diabetes, which can damage the blood vessels in the eyes; cardiovascular disease, where the heart has difficulty distributing oxygen to areas in the body that need it, including the eyes; hypertension (high blood pressure), which can damage blood vessels in the eyes, restricting blood flow to the retinas; and high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and restrict blood flow in the veins, including those in the retina. To reduce the impact of disease, it is important to eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins C and E, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, and stay active with regular, moderate exercise averaging 30 minutes daily. Regular eye exams are important to detect potentially damaging conditions early, when they are often most treatable. Being on top of your health and exercise routines can make all the difference when it comes to having healthy eyes and to overall well being. For more information about the most common diseases that affect men’s eyes, check out The Guardian News article, “All eyes on him: The big 5 risks to men’s vision” or the National Institutes of Health – National Eye Institute’s webpage, “Keep Your Eyes Healthy.” To find out more about the incidence of glaucoma in men, read the Review of Optometry article: Male Sex Associated with Higher Glaucoma Risk.
If you are passionate about men’s health, you may want to help recognize and promote a healthy way of living in your community. For example, you can encourage the men in your life to schedule a visit with their doctors and/or eye care professionals. Or plan a walk and/or healthy cookout with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, religious institution, or community center. You could also plan a charity event such as a 5K walk or run and donate the proceeds to a men’s health institution. These are just a few ways to promote men’s health. There are many healthy changes you can make to your life as well. Take better care of yourself and your eyes will thank you. For more healthy, fun ways to promote men’s health, check out the Men’s Health Month webpage titled, “Things to Do.”
For more information about Men’s Health Month and International Men’s Health Week, check out the Men’s Health Month website, here.