Women and Healthy Vision

It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.

Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease in women is becoming more common, particularly in older women. Actually, studies show that large numbers of women going through middle age experience some degree of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision impairments has become more common due to women's growing lifespan.

For women, an initial step you can take to guarantee strong sight is to make a thorough eye examination part of your regular health check up. Make sure that you get a comprehensive eye test before you hit 40, and that you follow up with the care your eye doctor recommends. Also, know your family medical history, because your genetics are a highly relevant detail of understanding, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and make sure to include foods full of beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help protect against vision loss as a result of eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all great starting points to managing top-notch eye health.

For women who smoke, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can increase 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 very dangerous to your eyesight. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, don't forget to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal shifts such as those that take place when a woman goes through pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Often, these changes can even make the use of contacts ineffective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you might want to shorten contact lens wearing time and alter your prescription if necessary. It's recommended to make an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision shifts you may be experiencing.

It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and fertilizers are stored safely and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands thoroughly after working with all chemicals and use eye protection if using strong substances. Use safety goggles when fixing things around the house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.

If used irresponsibly, cosmetics can also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Firstly, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Avoid using old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and dispose of anything that's been open for more than about four months, particularly anything that's aqueous. Keep an eye out for any allergic reactions and stop use immediately if you see pain, itchiness or redness in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergies to a product you've been buying for years. Also, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when putting on eyeliners, shadows and mascara.

Women need to be aware of the dangers and considerations when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye health.

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