This month, Prevent Blindness America is focusing on Women's Eye Health and Safety.
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, especially in older women. Actually, studies show that large numbers of women going through middle age experience some degree of visual impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women developing vision impairments has increased due to the female population's growing lifespan.
For women, the first step to take to ensure strong vision is to make a full eye examination part of your regular health routine. Make sure that you get a comprehensive eye checkup before you hit 40, and that you follow up with the advice your eye doctor suggests. Additionally, be aware of your family history, because your genes are an important part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions.
In addition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help guard from eyesight loss from eye disease. It's recommended that you also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all strong starting points to managing top-notch eye care.
For women who smoke, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can increase the danger of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and AMD, are extremely dangerous to your eyesight. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal shifts like what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your sight. Sometimes, these shifts can even make the use of contacts ineffective or uncomfortable. If you're pregnant, you may want to shorten contact lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your eye doctor at some point during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision shifts you may be noticing.
There are also several precautions to take to shield your eyes from household dangers, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and strong detergents are kept safely and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands well after touching all chemicals and use eye protection if employing the use of toxic chemicals. Use proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of the risks and options when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can't hurt to educate the women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye health.