It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.
The many stages of a woman's life can have an impact on her vision. Eye disease among women is increasingly common, more notably in aging women. Actually, studies show that the majority of women aged 40 and above experience some degree of visual impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women experiencing vision loss has grown because of the female population's growing longevity.
As a woman, an important step you can take to ensure good vision is to make a proper eye test part of your normal health routine. Be sure to go have a comprehensive eye exam before you turn 40, and that you don't forget to follow up with the advice your eye doctor encourages. Also, be aware of your family medical history, because your genetics are a key part of understanding, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions.
When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthful, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods full of beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help guard from eyesight loss from eye disease. You can also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all great starting points to keeping up top-notch eye care.
If you smoke, make a commitment to stop, as even second-hand smoke can add to the risk of eye disease and is a proven factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and AMD, are very harmful to your vision. When outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a sun hat to protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal changes such as those that occur during pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your vision. Often, these changes can even make contact lenses less effective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you may want to decrease lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision shifts you may be experiencing.
It is also important to protect your eyes from dangers at home, like cleaning supplies. Check that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, bleach and pesticides are kept safely and are out of reach of small children. Scrub your hands well after handling all chemicals and wear eye protection if employing the use of strong chemicals. Wear safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.
If used irresponsibly, eye makeup can also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Avoid using old eye makeup and dispose of anything that's been open for more than about four months, particularly anything that's liquid based. Keep an eye out for abnormal reactions and cease use right away if you notice redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you can develop allergies to a product you've been fine with for years. And of course, be sure to avoid touching the eye when using eyeliners, shadows and mascara.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of the dangers and options when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can never hurt to inform the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eyes and vision.