It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.
Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease among the female population is becoming more common, particularly in middle-aged women. Actually, studies indicate that the majority of women over the age of 40 experience some sort of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions including but not limited to dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the chance of women developing vision loss has grown due to women's growing longevity.
As a woman, an initial step you can take to guarantee good vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Make sure that you have an extensive eye checkup before you hit forty, and that you follow up with the advice your eye doctor suggests. Secondly, know your family medical history, as your genes are an important part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss. Don't forget to examine your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases present themselves.
In addition, maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help guard from eyesight loss due to eye disease. You can also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, which are all great starting points to maintaining optimal eye health.
For smokers, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can increase the risk of eye disease and is a proven cause of the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD) and cataracts. UV rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and AMD, are extremely dangerous for your eyesight. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal shifts such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also influence your sight. Often, these changes can even make contacts less effective or uncomfortable. If you're pregnant, you may want to shorten contact lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's recommended to schedule an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, like cleaning supplies. Check that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, bleach and pesticides are kept safely and are locked away from young children. Clean your hands thoroughly after touching all chemicals and invest in eye protection when employing the use of toxic substances. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things in your house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or power tools.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of the dangers and considerations when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can never hurt to inform the women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye and vision health.