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Women’s Eye and Vision Health

April 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 growing numbers, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women over the age of 40 have some type of eyesight impairment, and risk developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the chance of women being diagnosed with vision loss has become more common as a result of the female population's growing longevity.

For women, an initial step to take to guarantee good vision is to make an extensive eye examination part of your normal health routine. Be sure to go get a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye doctor recommends. Secondly, be familiar with your family medical history, because your genetics are an important factor in comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss. Be sure to look into your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any conditions that show up.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help guard from vision loss as a result of eye disease. It's recommended that you also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all good starting points to managing optimal eye health.

For smokers, make a commitment to stop, as even second-hand smoke can increase the danger of eye disease and is a known factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely dangerous for your vision. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to put on complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to protect your eyes from the sun.

Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, can also affect your vision. Sometimes, these shifts can even make the use of contact lenses less effective or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and alter your prescription if necessary. It's recommended to make an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision changes you may be experiencing.

There are also precautions to take to protect your eyes from household dangers, such as domestic cleaners. Check that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and strong detergents are kept safely and are locked away from young children. Wash your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using strong substances. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, especially when working with wood, metal or tools.

Women need to be educated about the dangers and choices when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can never hurt to inform the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to look after their eye and vision health.