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 in women is increasingly common, especially in aging women. Actually, studies show that the majority of women going through middle age experience some type of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the chance of women being diagnosed with vision loss has become more common because of women's growing lifespan.
As a woman, an initial step you can take to maintain healthy sight is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Be sure to go have a comprehensive eye exam before you hit 40, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye care professional suggests. Also, be aware of your family medical history, as your genetics are a key part of comprehending, diagnosing and stopping eye conditions.
In addition, eat a healthy, varied diet and don't forget to include foods containing zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help protect against eyesight loss from eye disease. It's recommended that you also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all good starting points to managing top-notch eye care.
For smokers, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a common cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also cause 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 sun hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.
Changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place due to pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Sometimes, these changes can even make contacts ineffective or slightly painful. If you're pregnant, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to make an appointment with your eye care professional during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision shifts you may be experiencing.
It is also important to protect your eyes from dangers at home, like cleaning supplies. Check that household chemicals, including cleaners, paints and strong detergents are kept safely and are out of reach of small children. Clean your hands well after handling all chemicals and invest in eye protection if employing the use of strong chemicals. Wear safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
If used irresponsibly, cosmetics can also be a safety risk for your eyes. Firstly, you should 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 cosmetics that are aqueous. Look out for allergic reactions and stop use right away if you spot redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergic reactions to make up you've been using for years. And of course, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when applying eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
Women need to be educated about the dangers and options when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can't hurt to inform the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye health.