April 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 the female population is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, more notably in middle-aged women. Actually, studies show that large numbers of women going through middle age exhibit some degree of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's interesting to note that the chance of women being diagnosed with vision loss has grown as a result of women's growing longevity.
As a woman, an important step to take to maintain good vision is to make a full eye test part of your regular health check up. Be sure that you have an extensive eye exam before reaching the age of 40, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye doctor encourages. Secondly, be familiar with your family history, because your genetics are an important part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss.
When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and don't forget to include foods containing beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help guard from vision loss as a result of eye disease. It's recommended that you also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all strong starting points to managing optimal eye health.
If you smoke, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can add to the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. UV rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and AMD, are very harmful for your vision. When outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to put on complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal changes such as what might occur due to pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your sight. Often, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you might want to shorten contact lens wearing time and alter your prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to make an appointment with your eye care professional at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision differences you may be noticing.
There are also measures to take to shield your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and fertilizers are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of young children. Clean your hands well after handling all chemicals and invest in eye protection if using strong substances. Wear safety goggles when repairing things around the house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of the risks and choices when it comes to looking after your vision. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the women in your life, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eyes and vision.