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

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

Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies show that the majority of women going through middle age exhibit some degree of visual impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions such as dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's interesting to note that the chance of women experiencing vision impairments has become more common as a result of women's growing lifespan.

For women, the first step you can take to guarantee strong vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Be sure that you get a comprehensive eye test before you turn forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the advice your eye care professional suggests. Also, be familiar with your family medical history, as your genes are an important detail of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss. Don't forget to examine your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases that show up.

In addition, eat a healthy, varied diet and make sure to include foods containing beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help protect against eyesight 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 keeping up top-notch eye care.

For smokers, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as well as cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely dangerous for your vision. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from the sun.

Hormonal changes like those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Often, these shifts can even make the use of contacts less effective or slightly painful. If you're pregnant, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to make an appointment with your eye care professional during your pregnancy to talk about any eyesight or vision changes you may be noticing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from dangers at home, such as cleaning supplies. Check that domestic chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and pesticides are stored safely and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands thoroughly after working with all chemicals and invest in eye protection when employing the use of toxic substances. Use proper safety goggles when fixing things in your house, most importantly when working with wood, metal or tools.

If used incorrectly, eye makeup might also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Firstly, never use anyone else's products. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and dispose of anything that's older than four months, particularly cosmetics that are liquid based. Watch for abnormal reactions and cease use right away if you spot inflammation in or near the eyes. Be aware also that you can develop allergic reactions to make up you've been using for years. Also, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when putting on eye makeup.

As a woman, it is important to be informed of the dangers and considerations when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can never hurt to educate the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, about how to protect their eye health.