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What Every Woman Should Know About Healthy Vision

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

It's no surprise that the various stages of a woman's life could have a strong impact on her eye health and vision. Eye disease among women is becoming more common, more notably in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that most women aged 40 and above have some type of eyesight impairment, and are at risk of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting 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 you can take to guarantee strong sight is to schedule a routine eye exam. Make sure to go get a comprehensive eye test before you hit 40, and that you follow up with the care your eye care professional recommends. Also, be aware of your family history, because your genes are a highly relevant part of comprehending, diagnosing and stopping eye diseases. Don't forget to find out about your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any illnesses present themselves.

In addition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help prevent eyesight loss from eye disease. It's recommended that you also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, as they are all strong starting points to keeping up top-notch eye care.

If you smoke, make a commitment to quit, because even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a proven cause of the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely dangerous for your eyes. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to put on complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a sun hat to protect your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal changes like what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Sometimes, these changes can even make the use of contacts ineffective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you may want to decrease lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to book an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to address any eyesight or vision changes you may be experiencing.

There are also precautions to take to protect your eyes from risks at home, like cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and pesticides are stored safely and are locked away from small children. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching all chemicals and invest in eye protection if using strong substances. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things in your house, especially when working with wood, metal or tools.

Women need to be educated about the risks and options when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eyes and vision.