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A Look At Women’s Eye Health and Safety

It's April, which is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month.

Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease among women is becoming more common, particularly in middle-aged women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women going through middle age have some type of visual impairment, and may be in danger of developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma and diabetes-related retinopathy. It's worth noting that the risk of women being diagnosed with vision impairments has become more common because of women's growing lifespan.

For women, the first step to take to maintain healthy vision is to schedule a periodic eye exam. Make sure to go get an extensive eye test before you hit 40, and that you follow up with the advice your eye doctor encourages. Secondly, know your family medical history, because your genes are a highly relevant part of comprehending, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases.

When it comes to nutrition, eat a healthful, varied diet and make sure to include foods rich in beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help prevent vision loss as a result of eye disease. You can also buy vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, which are all great starting points to maintaining top-notch eye care.

If you smoke, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a proven cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. UV rays, which can also be a party to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very dangerous to your eyesight. When you go outside, and not just during the summer, don't forget to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a wide brimmed hat to shield your eyes from the sun.

Hormonal changes such as those that take place during pregnancy or menopause, can also slightly change your vision. Often, these shifts can even make contacts ineffective or uncomfortable. During pregnancy, you may want to shorten lens wearing time and update your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your eye doctor during your pregnancy to discuss any eyesight or vision changes you may be experiencing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Check that household chemicals, including cleaners, paints 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 invest in eye protection when employing the use of strong substances. Use proper safety goggles when repairing things at home, especially when working with wood, metal or tools.

When used carelessly, cosmetics might also be a safety risk for your eyes. Firstly, you should never use anyone else's products. Avoid using old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and discard anything that's older than about four months, particularly products that are aqueous. Look out for allergic reactions and cease use immediately if you spot pain, itchiness or redness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergies to make up you've been buying for years. And of course, be sure to avoid actual contact with the eye when using eyeliners, shadows and mascara.

Women need to be informed of the risks and options when it comes to caring for your eyes. And also, it can't hurt to educate the women in your life, such as daughters and friends, about how to look after their eyes and vision.


We’ll soon be “Eyes on Main”! And that’s not the only news... please offer a warm welcome to Dr. Mike Gowen.

From Dr. J:

I opened my office in 1990 – That’s 30 years coming up on August 1st!!   In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in others, like forever.  Along with so much else that has changed this year, one more occasion is on the horizon.  I am excited to announce that I am selling my practice to Dr. Mike Gowen.  Dr. G and his wife, SallyAnn, met at Virginia Tech close to 40 years ago. They have been proud and loud Hokies ever since and dreamed of returning to live in Blacksburg.  Both are strong supporters of the arts, athletics and the civic engagement that make this a very special place to live, work and play!

I am thrilled to be handing the baton to a doctor who believes as I do in community service. Plus, he is laser focused also on individualized patient care, personal and professional intellectual advancement and enjoying the good things and kind people who come along every day.

Better yet, I’m not going anywhere!  I will continue seeing patients, focusing on visual rehab for those suffering from concussions/TBI, working to control the progression and consequences of nearsightedness through orthokeratology and other treatments, and counseling all regarding the inter-relation of the eyes, brain and body, along with the importance of nutrition, exercise and mental well-being.  There’s so much I yet want to learn and do, and now I won’t have to worry about arguing with insurance companies.  I’m excited!

From Dr. G:

It’s impossible to express how pleased I am to be moving to Blacksburg. It has long been the dream of my wife and I to become a part of this unique town, where we met as Virginia Tech students and continued to frequent as alumni.    I look forward to the privilege of serving the people of Blacksburg and bringing my lifetime of experience in the field of eye care to serve one and all. I'm delighted that Dr. Steve Jacobs will remain with the practice, which will now be “EYES on Main.” I consider it a great privilege to continue the exemplary patient care and community service that Dr. Jacobs has and will continue to provide to the New River Valley. Together we will serve the Blacksburg community with the same culture of care and community involvement that has always been a part of this practice.

 More updates to follow.  Send us a message or give us a call with questions, comments, or to set up an appointment.

We can always be reached at 540-953-0136!

Sincerely,Dr. J, Dr. S, Dr. G & staff