This month, Prevent Blindness America is focusing on Women's Eye Health and Safety.
Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease among the female population is becoming more common, especially in older women. Actually, studies indicate that the majority of women aged 40 and above have some sort of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's interesting to note that the risk of women developing vision loss has become more common because of women's increasing longevity.
As a woman, the first step to take to guarantee strong vision is to schedule a routine eye exam. Be sure to go 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, as your genetics are a highly relevant part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye diseases. Be sure to examine your family's eye and health history and inform your 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 beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help prevent eyesight loss from eye disease. You can also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all good starting points to managing top-notch eye health.
If you smoke, make a decision to quit, as even second-hand smoke can add to the danger of eye disease and is a proven cause of 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 age-related macular degeneration, are very dangerous to your vision. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.
Changes in hormone levels, like what might take place during pregnancy or menopause, can also influence your sight. Often, these shifts can even make contacts less effective or slightly painful. If you're pregnant, you may want to reduce lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
There are also several precautions to take to shield your eyes from dangers at home, such as cleaning supplies. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and fertilizers are stored safely and are locked away from young children. Clean your hands thoroughly after touching all chemicals and wear eye protection when using toxic substances. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.
When used carelessly, eye makeup can also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, you should never use anyone else's products. Avoid using old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and dispose of anything that's older than four months, particularly products that are liquid based. Keep an eye out for allergic reactions and cease use right away if you see pain, itchiness or redness in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you might develop allergic reactions to a product you've been using for years. Also, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when applying eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
Women need to be informed of the dangers and options when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women in your life, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eye health.