Since many vision threats affect more women than men across the globe, the entire month of April is dedicated to informing women of eye health risks and to promote proper vision care.
Annual Eye Exams Are as Important as Annual Physical Exams
We all recognize that annual physicals are important to maintain good health, but so are routine vision checkups. Comprehensive eye exams are even more important as we advance in years. These appointments allow your eye doctor to detect early signs of glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. But don’t wait until you are older to start making annual eye exams a part of your healthcare routine. Eye diseases can show up at any time in life. Left undiagnosed and untreated, many conditions can lead to vision loss. Prevention is the key to lifelong eye health.
Other health conditions may also be discovered during annual eye exams, including diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disorders and thyroid issues.
Hormones Can Cause Vision Changes
Since hormones are responsible for regulating important bodily functions, it is not surprising that vision and eye health can be affected by hormonal changes. Monthly fluctuations, birth control pills, fertility treatments and hormone replacement therapy can all put women at a greater risk for vision problems. Women are more likely to develop dry eye, vision changes, cataracts, and glaucoma. Vision changes due to hormone shifts may be corrected when the levels stabilize, but eye damage caused by conditions like glaucoma can be permanent.
Nutrition and Lifestyle Choices Affect Your Eyesight
Your dietary intake does impact your eye health. Poor eating habits can increase your risk of developing health problems like diabetes, which can lead to vision loss. A healthy lifestyle with proper nutrition will benefit your whole body. Include the following nutrients in your daily diet for optimal eye health:
- Lutein in eggs and dark, green leafy vegetables
- Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, beans, nuts, and oils
- Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables
- Zinc in meats, nuts, yogurt and other sources
Smoking Increases Vision Health Risk
Smokers are at an increased risk for blindness, eye diseases, and vision impairments. If you smoke, you are also more likely to suffer from dry eye and are at three times higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Smokers at an increased risk of serious health threats like diabetes, that can result in vision loss.
Consider Your Family’s Health History
Genetics plays a big role in eye health. Many common eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma present few symptoms before onset. Therefore, it is important to know your family’s medical history to understand what eye disease you may be predisposed to, so signs can be caught early.
Sunglasses Are More Than Just A Fashion Statement
Wearing sunglasses do more than enhance your outfit or make you look cool. They protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. UV rays contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration and can cause excruciating corneal sunburn. Summer isn’t the only time sun protection should be worn; sunglasses should be used all year. Wrap style frames with 100 percent UV lenses provide the most protection.
Eye health issues are a growing concern all over the world, with women affected more than men. Annual eye exams, a balanced diet, healthy living and good pair of sunglasses are great ways to help protect your vision.