April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Two-thirds of Americans
over age 40 who suffer from vision problems, including blindness, are
women. Why? According to the National Eye Institute (NEI), this is likely
due to the fact that a woman’s life expectancy is longer than that
of a man’s, and therefore, women are susceptible to age-related
When it comes to your
eye health, there are a number of things you can do to take care of your eyes and
help prevent any eye conditions that may result in vision impairment or
See your eye doctor regularly. It is often through a routine, comprehensive
eye exam that eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related
macular degeneration and cataracts are detected. These conditions have
few to no symptoms in the early stages, so the only way they would be
detected early is through a dilated eye exam.
If you notice any eye problems or changes in your vision, do not ignore
them. See your eye doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such
as eye pain, drainage, swelling, sensitivity to light, floaters and flashes.
Eat healthy. Nutrition is just as important for your eyes as it is for the rest of your
body. Poor nutrition can lead to a number of eye conditions including
dry eyes, eye infections, macular degeneration and cataracts. If you want
to have good eye health, eat a diet rich in vitamins C and E, beta carotene,
lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Most of these nutrients
can be found in fruits and vegetables.
Exercise regularly. Keeping your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol in check with regular
exercise can help prevent some eye conditions and vision loss.
Manage existing health conditions. If you suffer from diabetes or another existing health condition such as
high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s orders to keep your health
condition in check to prevent damage to your eyes.
Wear sunglasses. Always wear sunglasses when you are outside, even on cloudy days, as the
sun’s damaging UV rays are still able to pass through the clouds.
Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays, and
consider wraparound sunglasses to block rays from entering from the side.
Remember: UV protection has nothing to do with the tint of your sunglasses.
Don’t smoke. Smoking can increase the risk of complications with a number of eye conditions,
especially for women.
Some vision impairment with age is normal, but with these tips, you can
help prevent serious eye conditions that may lead to permanent vision loss.