It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.
Women go through various stages throughout their lives, and each can impact vision differently. Eye disease among the female population is increasingly common, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies show that most women going through middle age experience some type of visual impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions like cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the chance of women experiencing vision loss has grown as a result of the female population's growing lifespan.
For women, an initial step you can take to guarantee healthy vision is to schedule a routine eye exam. Make sure to go get a comprehensive eye exam before you hit forty, and that you follow up with the advice your eye doctor suggests. Additionally, know your family medical history, as your genetics are a key detail of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss. Be sure to examine your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any illnesses that show up.
In addition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help guard from eyesight loss as a result of eye disease. If possible, you should also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, as they are all strong starting points to keeping up optimal eye care.
For women who smoke, make a decision to quit, because even second-hand smoke can increase the risk of eye disease and is a known cause of the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and AMD, are very dangerous for your vision. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, don't forget to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a sun hat that will shield your eyes from the sun.
Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place during pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your sight. Often, these shifts can even make contacts ineffective or uncomfortable. If you're pregnant, you might want to shorten contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to book an appointment with your eye doctor at some point during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision shifts you may be experiencing.
There are also precautions to take to protect your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and fertilizers are stored safely and are out of reach of small children. Wash your hands properly after touching all chemicals and use eye protection when using strong substances. Wear proper safety goggles when fixing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.
When used incorrectly, cosmetics might also be a safety risk for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Avoid using old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and throw away anything that's been open for more than four months, especially cosmetics that are liquid based. Watch for abnormal reactions and stop use immediately if you spot inflammation in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you can develop allergies to products you've been buying for years. And as a general rule, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when using eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of the dangers and options when it comes to your eye care. And also, it can't hurt to educate the women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eyes and vision.