April 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 middle-aged women. Actually, studies show that most women going through middle age experience some sort 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 developing vision impairments has grown as a result of women's growing longevity.
As a woman, an important step you can take to ensure good vision is to make an extensive eye test part of your normal health check up. Make sure that you get an extensive eye test before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the care your eye care professional encourages. Secondly, know your family history, because your genes are a highly relevant detail of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss. Don't forget to look into your family's medical history and inform your doctor of any illnesses present themselves.
In addition, eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure to include foods containing zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help guard from vision loss as a result of eye disease. You can also take vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, as they are all strong starting points to managing top-notch eye care.
If you smoke, make a commitment to quit, as even second-hand smoke can increase the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD) and cataracts. UV rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very dangerous to your eyes. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from harsh rays.
Hormonal changes such as those that occur due to pregnancy or menopause, can also affect your vision. Sometimes, these shifts can even make the use of contacts ineffective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to book an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.
It is also important to shield your eyes from risks at home, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and fertilizers are stored safely and properly, and are out of reach of small children. Scrub your hands well after touching all chemicals and invest in eye protection if employing the use of strong chemicals. Use safety goggles when fixing things in your house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.
Women need to be aware of the dangers and choices 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, on the best ways to look after their eye and vision health.
Friday and Saturday: Early appts available on request