Women's risk of blindness higher than men

April 16, 2013 at 10:21 PM
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CHICAGO, April 16 (UPI) -- Prevent Blindness America says 2.6 million U.S. women age 40 and older have poor vision that cannot be corrected or are blind compared with 1.5 million men.

Hugh R. Parry, president and chief executive officer of Prevent Blindness America, said the National Eye Institute found the causes for higher female eye disease were primarily due to longevity, along with hormonal factors.

"The first thing every woman should do, especially those age 40 and older, is get a dilated eye exam," Parry said in a statement. "Through early detection and treatment, vision loss can be lessened."

Prevent Blindness America also recommends a healthy diet, quitting smoking, taking supplements -- as approved by a medical professional -- consistently wearing UV-blocking sunglasses with a brimmed hat outdoors and learning of any family history of eye disease.

Parry said those experiencing any of the following symptoms, should schedule an appointment with an eye care professional immediately:

-- Unusual trouble adjusting to dark rooms.

-- Difficulty focusing on near or distant objects.

-- Squinting or blinking due to unusual sensitivity to light or glare.

-- Change in color of iris.

-- Red-rimmed, encrusted or swollen lids.

-- Recurrent pain in or around eyes.

-- Double vision.

-- Dark spot at the center of viewing.

-- Lines and edges appear distorted or wavy.

-- Excess tearing or "watery eyes."

-- Dry eyes with itching or burning.

For more information on women's eye health, including fact sheets on eye diseases, pregnancy and vision and the safe use of cosmetics, see www.preventblindness.org.

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