April is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.
Women go through various stages throughout their lives, and each can impact vision differently. Eye disease among women is becoming more common, more notably in older women. In fact, studies show that the majority of women going through middle age have some degree of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women developing vision loss has increased as a result of the female population's increasing longevity.
As a woman, an initial step to take to guarantee healthy sight is to make an extensive eye test part of your regular health check up. Be sure that you get an extensive eye exam before you turn forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the advice your eye doctor recommends. Additionally, be aware of your family history, because your genetics are a highly relevant factor in understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye conditions. Be sure to look into your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases that show up.
When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and make sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help guard from eyesight loss due to eye disease. If possible, you should also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all strong starting points to managing top-notch eye health.
If you smoke, make a commitment to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and AMD, are very dangerous for your eyesight. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, make sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from the sun.
Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make the use of contacts less effective or slightly painful. If you're pregnant, you may want to decrease lens wearing time and update your prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision changes you may be noticing.
It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, like domestic cleaners. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, paints and fertilizers are stored safely and are locked away from small children. Wash your hands properly after handling all chemicals and use eye protection when employing the use of toxic chemicals. Wear safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with wood, metal or power tools.
Women need to be aware of the dangers and options when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can't hurt to inform the women you know, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye and vision health.