This month, Prevent Blindness America is focusing on Women's Eye Health and Safety.
It's no surprise that the various stages of a woman's life could have a strong impact on her eye health and vision. Eye disease among women is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, more notably in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women aged 40 and above exhibit some type of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the chance of women being diagnosed with vision loss has grown as a result of women's growing lifespan.
For women, the first step to take to guarantee healthy vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Be sure to go get a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you adhere to the advice your eye care professional suggests. Also, be familiar with your family history, because your genes are a key part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions.
In addition, maintain a healthful, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help guard from vision loss due to eye disease. If possible, you should also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all good starting points to maintaining top-notch eye health.
For women who smoke, make a commitment to quit, because even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a known factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely dangerous for your eyesight. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to put on complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from the sun.
Hormonal changes such as those that take place when a woman goes through pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your vision. Sometimes, these shifts can even make contact lenses less effective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you may want to shorten contact lens wearing time and update your prescription as needed. It's recommended to schedule an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to address any eyesight or vision differences you may be noticing.
It is also important to protect your eyes from risks at home, like domestic cleaners. Check that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and strong detergents are kept safely and are locked away from young children. Clean your hands thoroughly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using toxic substances. Use proper safety goggles when repairing things in your house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.
As a woman, it is important to be informed of the risks and choices when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can't hurt to inform the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to look after their eyes and vision.