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 among women is being diagnosed in growing numbers, especially in aging women. In fact, studies show that the majority of women over the age of 40 have some degree of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions like cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the chance of women being diagnosed with vision impairments has grown due to women's growing longevity.
For women, an important step you can take to guarantee good sight is to make an extensive eye exam part of your regular health check up. Make sure that you get a comprehensive eye test before reaching the age of 40, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye care professional encourages. Secondly, be familiar with your family medical history, as your genetics are a key part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye diseases. Don't forget to look into your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any conditions that show up.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help guard from vision loss due to eye disease. It's recommended that you also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all great starting points to maintaining top-notch eye health.
If you smoke, make a decision to quit, because even second-hand smoke can increase the danger of eye disease and is a common cause of the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very dangerous for your eyes. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a sun hat to shield your eyes from the sun.
Hormonal changes like those that take place due to pregnancy and menopause, can also affect your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make contacts ineffective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you may want to decrease lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to make an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, such as cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, bleach and fertilizers are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of young children. Scrub your hands well after working with all chemicals and use eye protection when employing the use of toxic substances. Use proper safety goggles when fixing things at home, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.
Women need to be aware of the risks and considerations when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the women in your life, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eyes and vision.