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Women’s Vision and Eye Health

It's April, which 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 in women is increasingly common, especially in older women. Actually, studies show that the majority of women going through middle age exhibit some sort of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision loss has increased as a result of the female population's increasing lifespan.

For women, the first step to take to ensure good vision is to make a thorough eye examination part of your regular health routine. Be sure to go get a full eye exam before you turn 40, and that you adhere to the advice your eye care professional suggests. Secondly, know your family medical history, as your genetics are a key part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye diseases. Don't forget to examine your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any illnesses present themselves.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help prevent eyesight loss from eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A tablets, which are all good starting points to keeping up optimal eye health.

For smokers, make a decision to stop, because even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very harmful to your eyes. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat that will shield your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal changes like what might take place due to pregnancy or menopause, can also influence your sight. Often, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful. During pregnancy, you might want to decrease contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to make an appointment with your eye doctor at some point during your pregnancy to address any eyesight or vision changes you may be experiencing.

There are also several measures to take to shield your eyes from risks at home, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and fertilizers are kept safely and are out of reach of small children. Scrub your hands well after touching all chemicals and use eye protection if using toxic chemicals. Use 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 risks and options when it comes to caring for your eyes. And of course, it can't hurt to educate the women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eye and vision health.