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A Look At Women’s Eye and Vision Health

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 becoming more common, particularly in middle-aged women. Actually, studies show that most women aged 40 and above experience some type of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions including but not limited to cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women developing vision loss has increased because of women's increasing longevity.

As a woman, the first step you can take to guarantee strong sight is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Make sure to go have an extensive eye test before you hit 40, and that you adhere to the advice your eye doctor suggests. Additionally, know your family medical history, as your genes are an important part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases. Be sure to look into your family's medical history and inform your doctor of any diseases that show up.

In addition, maintain a healthy, varied diet and be sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help prevent eyesight loss from eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all good starting points to maintaining top-notch eye health.

For smokers, make a commitment to quit, as even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful to your eyes. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from the sun.

Hormonal shifts such as what might occur when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, can also affect your vision. Often, these changes can even make contacts less effective or uncomfortable to wear. If you're pregnant, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's recommended to schedule an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to address any eyesight or vision shifts you may be experiencing.

There are also precautions to take to shield your eyes from dangers at home, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and strong detergents are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of small children. Scrub your hands thoroughly after touching all chemicals and use eye protection when using toxic chemicals. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.

Women need to be informed of the risks and options when it comes to caring for your eyes. And of course, it can't hurt to inform the women in your life, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eyes and vision.