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Home » What's New » Women and Eye Care

Women and Eye Care

It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.

Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease among the female population is increasingly common, particularly in older women. In fact, studies show that most women going through middle age experience some type of visual impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's interesting to note that the chance of women experiencing vision impairments has increased due to the female population's growing longevity.

For women, an important step to take to maintain good vision is to make a thorough eye examination part of your regular health routine. Make sure to go have a full eye test before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye care professional suggests. Also, be aware of your family medical history, because your genes are a key factor in comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases. Don't forget to examine your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases present themselves.

In addition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and make sure to include foods containing beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help prevent eyesight loss as a result of eye disease. You can also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C tablets, as they are all great starting points to keeping up optimal eye care.

For women who smoke, make a decision to quit, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a known factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. UV rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful to your vision. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a sun hat that will protect your eyes from the sun.

Changes in hormone levels, like what might take place during pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Often, these changes can even make contacts ineffective or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, you may want to shorten contact lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to make an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision differences you may be experiencing.

There are also measures to take to shield your eyes from risks at home, such as cleaning supplies. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and fertilizers are kept safely and are locked away from small children. Clean your hands well after touching all chemicals and wear eye protection if using toxic substances. Wear proper safety goggles when fixing things at home, especially when working with wood, metal or tools.

When used irresponsibly, eye makeup might also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, never use anyone else's products. Avoid using old eye makeup and dispose of anything that's been open for more than about four months, especially products that are aqueous. Watch for abnormal reactions and stop use immediately if you spot redness, itchiness or puffiness in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergic reactions to a product you've been fine with for years. And as a general rule, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when putting on eyeliners, shadows and mascara.

Women need to be aware of the dangers and considerations when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to protect their eyes and vision.