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Women and Healthy Vision

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 being diagnosed in increasing numbers, particularly in aging women. Actually, studies indicate that large numbers of women aged 40 and above have some degree of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions including but not limited to dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision impairments has become more common as a result of women's increasing lifespan.

For women, an initial step you can take to maintain strong vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Be sure to go get an extensive eye test before reaching the age of forty, and that you follow up with the advice your eye care professional encourages. Also, be familiar with your family medical history, because your genes are a highly relevant factor in understanding, diagnosing and preventing eye conditions.

In addition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and don't forget to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help guard from vision loss due to eye disease. You can also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, which are all strong starting points to keeping up top-notch eye health.

If you smoke, make a commitment to quit, because even second-hand smoke can increase the danger of eye disease and is a known factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very harmful to your eyesight. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, don't forget to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to protect your eyes from the sun.

Hormonal changes such as those that take place due to pregnancy and menopause, can also affect your vision. Sometimes, these shifts can even make contacts less effective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you might want to decrease lens wearing time and alter your prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to make an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision changes you may be noticing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, paints and pesticides are kept safely and properly, and are locked away from young children. Scrub your hands properly after handling all chemicals and use eye protection when using strong substances. Use proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, most importantly when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.

Women need to be educated about the risks and choices when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can't hurt to educate the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye health.