The many stages of a woman's life can have an impact on her vision. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in increasing numbers, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that most women aged 40 and above exhibit some type of eyesight impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions including but not limited to dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women experiencing vision loss has become more common as a result of the female population's increasing lifespan.
As a woman, the first step to take to ensure strong sight is to schedule a routine eye exam. Be sure that you have a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you don't forget to adhere to the care your eye care professional recommends. Additionally, know your family medical history, as your genetics are a highly relevant part of understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss. Don't forget to look into your family's eye and health history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases that may present themselves.
In addition, eat a healthy, varied diet and be sure to include foods containing beta carotene, lutein, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which all help prevent vision loss from eye disease. If you have a healthy diet and have good control of any medical conditions, often vitamin supplements may not be required. However, many people do not follow Food Guide recommendations so vitamin supplements are often added. In terms of eye vitamins, it is best to consult your optometrist before starting any supplements, as some adverse effects can occur with some medications or with overdosing vitamins.
For smokers, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can increase the danger of eye disease and is a proven factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. UV rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and AMD, are extremely dangerous for your eyes. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, be sure to wear complete UV blocking glasses which can be clear lenses or sunglasses. Also, remember to wear a sun hat to protect your eyes from the sun.
Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place due to pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make the use of contact lenses less effective or slightly painful to wear. If you're pregnant, you may want to reduce contact lens wearing time. Your prescription is subject to change unpredictably when pregnant, so be aware that temporary vision changes can be expected. Avoid obtaining a new prescription for glasses until 6 weeks after breastfeeding the baby to ensure the hormonal changes have settled down. Women that are diabetic and pregnant should set an appointment with their eye doctor during the pregnancy to monitor for damage to the retina from likely diabetic progression.
It is also important to shield your eyes from dangers at home, such as domestic cleaners. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaners, bleach and pesticides are kept safely and properly, and are out of reach of small children. Wash your hands well after working with all chemicals and use eye protection when employing the use of toxic chemicals. Wear safety goggles when repairing things in your house, especially when working with wood, metal or tools.
Women need to be educated about the dangers and options when it comes to looking after your vision. And also, it can't hurt to educate the other women you know, like your daughters and friends, on the best ways to look after their eye health.
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Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your eye health. If you require assistance after hours, please dial 811 for further guidance. If you are experiencing an eye emergency after hours, we recommend seeking care at the Rockyview General Hospital's Department of Ophthalmology.
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