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 among women is becoming more common, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women over the age of 40 exhibit some type of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the chance of women developing vision loss has grown due to women's increasing longevity.
As a woman, the first step to take to maintain good sight is to make a full eye exam part of your regular health routine. Be sure that you get a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the advice your eye doctor recommends. Also, be familiar with your family history, as your genes are a key factor in comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss. Be sure to look into your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases that show up.
When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and be sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help prevent vision loss from eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all great starting points to keeping up optimal eye care.
For smokers, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very harmful to your vision. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a sun hat to shield your eyes from the sun.
Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you may want to reduce contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
It is also important to protect your eyes from household dangers, like cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and pesticides are kept safely and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using toxic substances. Wear safety goggles when fixing things at home, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
When used carelessly, eye makeup can also be a safety risk for your eyes. Firstly, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and dispose of anything that's been open for more than about four months, especially anything that's aqueous. Keep an eye out for any allergic reactions and stop use immediately if you notice redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergies to make up you've been buying for years. And of course, be sure to avoid touching the eye when putting on eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
As a woman, it is important to be educated about the risks and considerations when it comes to looking after your vision. And of course, it can't hurt to inform the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to protect their eyes and vision.