It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.
The many stages of a woman's life can have an impact on her vision. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in growing numbers, more notably in aging women. In fact, studies show that large numbers of women aged 40 and above have some degree of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the risk of women developing vision impairments has grown because of the female population's increasing lifespan.
For women, an important step you can take to guarantee good vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Be sure to go get a comprehensive eye test before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the care your eye doctor suggests. Secondly, be aware of your family history, as your genes are a highly relevant factor in comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions. Don't forget to examine your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any conditions present themselves.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, varied diet and don't forget to include foods full of beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help prevent vision loss as a result of eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all strong starting points to managing optimal eye care.
For women who smoke, make a commitment to quit, as even second-hand smoke can add to 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 aid in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful for your eyesight. When outside, and not just during the summer, make sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from the sun.
Hormonal shifts like what might occur due to pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Often, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful. During pregnancy, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and update your prescription if necessary. It's recommended to make an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
It is also important to protect your eyes from risks at home, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and strong detergents are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of young children. Clean your hands thoroughly after touching all chemicals and invest in eye protection when employing the use of toxic chemicals. Use safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
Women need to be aware of the dangers and choices when it comes to caring for your eyes. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the women you know, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eyes and vision.