In April, Prevent Blindness America addresses eye health issues specific to women.
It's no surprise that the various stages of a woman's life could have a strong impact on her eye health and vision. Eye disease in women is increasingly common, more notably in middle-aged women. In fact, studies show that large numbers of women over the age of 40 exhibit some sort of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women experiencing vision loss has increased because of women's increasing longevity.
As a woman, the first step to take to guarantee healthy sight is to make a full eye test part of your regular health routine. Be sure to go have a comprehensive eye checkup before you turn forty, and that you adhere to the care your eye doctor encourages. Additionally, know your family medical history, because your genes are a key part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help prevent vision loss as a result of eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all great starting points to managing optimal eye health.
For smokers, make a decision to quit, because even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a known factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (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 during the summer AND winter, make sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a sun hat to protect your eyes from the sun.
Hormonal changes such as those that take place due to pregnancy or menopause, can also affect your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make contacts less effective or slightly painful. During pregnancy, you may want to decrease contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to make an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision shifts you may be experiencing.
There are also several measures to take to shield your eyes from risks at home, like domestic cleaners. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, paints and pesticides are stored safely and properly, and are locked away from young children. Wash your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using toxic chemicals. Use safety goggles when fixing things at home, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
As a woman, it is important to be educated about the risks and considerations when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can never hurt to inform the women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye and vision health.