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Women’s Eye and Vision Health

It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.

It's no surprise that the various stages of a woman's life could have a strong impact on her eye health and vision. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in growing numbers, especially in middle-aged women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women going through middle age exhibit some degree of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women experiencing vision loss has increased because of women's growing longevity.

For women, an important step you can take to ensure good sight is to schedule a routine eye exam. Make sure to go have a comprehensive eye checkup before you hit forty, and that you adhere to the care your eye care professional recommends. Also, be familiar with your family medical history, as your genes are an important factor in understanding, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases.

In addition, maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help guard from eyesight loss as a result of eye disease. It's recommended that you also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, which are all good starting points to maintaining top-notch eye health.

For women who smoke, make a commitment to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very dangerous for your eyesight. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, don't forget to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat that will shield your eyes from the sun.

Hormonal changes like what might occur due to pregnancy or menopause, can also influence your vision. Sometimes, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses less effective or slightly painful. During pregnancy, you may want to shorten lens wearing time and update your prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eyesight or vision shifts you may be noticing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Check that household chemicals, including cleaners, paints and fertilizers are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of small children. Clean your hands well after handling all chemicals and use eye protection when employing the use of strong chemicals. Use safety goggles when fixing things at home, most importantly when working with wood, metal or power tools.

Women need to be educated about the risks and considerations when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women in your life, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to protect their eye health.