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 being diagnosed in growing numbers, more notably in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that most women going through middle age exhibit some type of eyesight impairment, and risk developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's worth noting that the chance of women experiencing vision impairments has increased because of the female population's increasing longevity.
As a woman, an important step to take to ensure strong sight is to make a thorough eye test part of your normal health check up. Be sure that you get a comprehensive eye checkup before you hit 40, and that you follow up with the advice your eye doctor encourages. Secondly, be familiar with your family history, as your genes are a highly relevant detail of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthful, varied diet and be sure to include foods containing zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help protect against vision loss due to eye disease. You can also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all great starting points to keeping up top-notch eye care.
If you smoke, make a commitment to quit, as even second-hand smoke can add to the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in 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 dangerous to your vision. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a sun hat that will protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Changes in hormone levels, such as what might occur due to pregnancy and menopause, can also affect your sight. Often, these changes can even make the use of contacts ineffective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you may want to shorten lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to book an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision differences you may be noticing.
There are also measures to take to shield your eyes from dangers at home, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and strong detergents are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of small children. Clean your hands thoroughly after working with all chemicals and invest in eye protection when employing the use of strong chemicals. Wear safety goggles when fixing things around the house, most importantly when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
As a woman, it is important to be educated about the dangers and considerations when it comes to looking after your vision. And of course, it can never hurt to educate the women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye health.