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A Look Inside Women’s Eye and Vision Health and Safety

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 being diagnosed in increasing numbers, especially in aging women. Actually, studies indicate that the majority of women aged 40 and above exhibit some type of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions including but not limited to dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the chance of women experiencing vision loss has grown due to women's increasing longevity.

As a woman, the first step you can take to ensure strong sight is to make a full eye examination part of your regular health check up. Make sure to go get a comprehensive eye exam before reaching the age of forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the care your eye care professional encourages. Additionally, be aware of your family medical history, because your genes are an important detail of understanding, diagnosing and stopping eye conditions. Be sure to examine your family's medical history and inform your doctor of any diseases that show up.

When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and don't forget to include foods containing beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help prevent eyesight loss due to eye disease. You can also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A tablets, as they are all strong starting points to managing top-notch eye care.

If you smoke, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a known cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and AMD, are very dangerous for your eyes. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, don't forget to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.

Changes in hormone levels, like what might take place due to pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your sight. Sometimes, these shifts can even make the use of contacts less effective or uncomfortable to wear. If you're pregnant, you might want to shorten contact lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's recommended to book an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to address any eyesight or vision shifts you may be noticing.

It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and pesticides are kept safely and properly, and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands well after touching all chemicals and wear eye protection when using toxic substances. Wear safety goggles when repairing things in your house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or power tools.

When used irresponsibly, eye makeup might also be a safety risk for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and throw away anything that's been open for more than about four months, especially cosmetics that are liquid based. Keep an eye out for any allergic reactions and cease use right away if you spot inflammation in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergic reactions to a product you've been using for years. And as a general rule, be sure to avoid touching the eye when putting on eye makeup.

As a woman, it is important to be informed of the risks and considerations when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can never hurt to inform the women you know, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eyes and vision.

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