In April, Prevent Blindness America addresses eye health issues specific to women.
Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that most women over the age of 40 experience some type of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions like cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the chance of women experiencing vision impairments has become more common because of women's growing lifespan.
As a woman, an important step to take to maintain healthy vision is to make a full eye test part of your normal health check up. Make sure that you get an extensive eye checkup before you hit 40, and that you don't forget to adhere to the advice your eye care professional encourages. Also, be familiar with your family medical history, because your genetics are a highly relevant detail of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure to include foods full of beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help guard from eyesight loss from eye disease. You can also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all great starting points to maintaining optimal eye care.
If you smoke, make a commitment to stop, 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 cause the development of cataracts and AMD, are very harmful to your eyes. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a sun hat to protect your eyes from the sun.
Hormonal shifts such as what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your sight. Often, these changes can even make contacts ineffective or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's recommended to make an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision changes you may be experiencing.
There are also several measures to take to protect your eyes from household dangers, such as domestic cleaners. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, paints and fertilizers are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of young children. Scrub your hands well after handling all chemicals and use eye protection when employing the use of toxic chemicals. Use proper safety goggles when repairing things around the house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or power tools.
Women need to be informed of the risks and choices when it comes to looking after your vision. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye health.