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What All Women Should Know About Health and Vision

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 growing numbers, more notably in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that large numbers of women going through middle age experience some degree of visual impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the risk of women experiencing vision loss has become more common because of the female population's increasing longevity.

For women, an initial step you can take to maintain healthy sight is to make an extensive eye examination part of your regular health routine. Make sure that you have a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you adhere to the care your eye care professional encourages. Also, know your family history, as your genetics are a highly relevant factor in understanding, diagnosing and stopping vision loss.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and be sure to include foods containing zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, which all help guard from vision loss due to eye disease. You can also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all strong starting points to maintaining top-notch eye health.

For smokers, make a commitment to stop, because even second-hand smoke can increase the risk of eye disease and is a proven cause of the macular degeneration that can come with aging (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also cause the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are extremely harmful to your eyes. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear complete UV blocking sunglasses as well as a sun hat to shield your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal changes like those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can can also influence your sight. Often, these changes can even make contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful. If you're pregnant, you might want to reduce contact lens wearing time and adjust your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's recommended to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional during your pregnancy to address any eye or vision differences you may be experiencing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from dangers at home, such as cleaning supplies. Check that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, bleach and strong detergents are stored safely and are out of reach of small children. Scrub your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using strong chemicals. Use proper safety goggles when fixing things around the house, most importantly when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.

When used incorrectly, eye makeup might also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, you should never use anyone else's cosmetics. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and discard anything that's been open for more than about four months, particularly cosmetics that are liquid based. Keep an eye out for any allergic reactions and cease use right away if you notice pain, itchiness or redness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you might develop allergic reactions to products you've been fine with for years. And of course, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when putting on eye makeup.

As a woman, it is important to be educated about the risks and options when it comes to your eye care. And of course, it can never hurt to educate the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eye health.