This month, Prevent Blindness America is focusing on Women's Eye Health and Safety.
Women go through various stages throughout their lives, and each can impact vision differently. Eye disease among the female population is increasingly common, particularly in middle-aged women. Actually, studies show that most women aged 40 and above exhibit some type of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the risk of women developing vision loss has grown because of women's growing lifespan.
For women, an initial step you can take to guarantee healthy sight is to make a proper eye examination part of your normal health routine. Make sure to go get an extensive eye checkup before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the advice your eye care professional recommends. Secondly, be familiar with your family medical history, as your genetics are a key part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye conditions. Be sure to find out about your family's eye and health history and inform your doctor of any conditions present themselves.
In addition, maintain a healthful, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods containing beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help prevent eyesight loss due to eye disease. It's recommended that you also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all great starting points to managing optimal eye care.
For smokers, make a commitment to quit, because even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a known factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful for your eyesight. When outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses and a sun hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal shifts like what might occur during pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your vision. Sometimes, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses less effective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you may want to decrease contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's recommended to schedule an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision differences you may be experiencing.
There are also several measures to take to protect your eyes from dangers at home, like cleaning supplies. Check that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, bleach and fertilizers are kept safely and properly, and are locked away from young children. Clean your hands properly after touching all chemicals and use eye protection if employing the use of strong chemicals. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, especially when working with wood, metal or power tools.
As a woman, it is important to be educated about the dangers and choices when it comes to caring for your eyes. And of course, it can't hurt to inform the women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to look after their eye and vision health.