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 women is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, more notably in older women. In fact, studies indicate that most women going through middle age exhibit some sort of eyesight impairment, and risk developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision impairments has grown as a result of the female population's growing lifespan.
For women, an initial step you can take to guarantee strong sight is to make a full eye test part of your normal health check up. Be sure to go have an extensive eye test before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the advice your eye doctor encourages. Additionally, be familiar with your family history, as your genetics are an important part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss. Be sure to find out about your family's medical history and inform your doctor of any diseases that show up.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help prevent eyesight loss from eye disease. You can also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all good starting points to keeping up optimal eye health.
If you smoke, make a decision to stop, 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. UV rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and AMD, are very dangerous for your eyesight. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, don't forget to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a sun hat to protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Changes in hormone levels, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also influence your sight. Sometimes, these shifts can even make the use of contact lenses less effective or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, you might want to decrease contact lens wearing time and alter your prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your eye doctor at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eyesight or vision differences you may be experiencing.
There are also several precautions to take to protect your eyes from household dangers, such as cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and fertilizers are kept safely and are locked away from small children. Clean your hands well after touching all chemicals and invest in eye protection when using toxic substances. Use safety goggles when fixing things in your house, most importantly when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
When used incorrectly, cosmetics might also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Firstly, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and throw away anything that's older than four months, particularly cosmetics that are aqueous. Look out for any allergic reactions and stop use right away if you see redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you might actually develop allergic reactions to a product you've been fine with for years. Also, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when using eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
As a woman, it is important to be informed of the risks and options when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye health.