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A Look Inside Women’s Eye Health

In April, Prevent Blindness America addresses eye health issues specific to women.

The many stages of a woman's life can have an impact on her vision. Eye disease among the female population is becoming more common, especially in middle-aged women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women over the age of 40 exhibit some type of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's interesting to note that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision loss has grown as a result of the female population's increasing lifespan.

For women, an important step to take to maintain strong sight is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Make sure that you get a full eye test before you turn forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the advice your eye care professional recommends. Secondly, be aware of your family medical history, because your genes are a highly relevant detail of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help prevent vision loss as a result of eye disease. If possible, you should also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A tablets, as they are all good starting points to managing top-notch eye health.

If you smoke, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can add to the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful to your eyesight. When outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to put on complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal changes like those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also affect your vision. Sometimes, these changes can even make contact lenses less effective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you might want to decrease lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision shifts you may be noticing.

There are also measures to take to protect your eyes from household dangers, like cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and strong detergents are stored safely and properly, and are locked away from small children. Clean your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection when using toxic substances. Wear proper safety goggles when fixing things at home, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.

Women need to be informed of the dangers and options when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can't hurt to inform the other women in your life, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to protect their eyes and vision.