Women, Aging and Vision
Did it seem like your vision started to decline after you
hit 40? This is a toll of aging. While there are many possible causes, this
is the time to become aware of age-related macular degeneration or AMD, a condition
where central retinal function worsens, producing poor--and eventually no--central
vision. This makes it difficult to read, drive or even watch television.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the US--it may affect
one in five Americans over age 65. It is nearly twice as common in women than
in men, so research is targeting the possible role of estrogen in preventing
it or decreasing its severity. The antioxidant lutein may also have a preventive
role. There are very few treatment options for AMD.
What can you do to reduce your risk of AMD? Have a complete
eye exam every 2 years between ages 40 and 65, then yearly. If you smoke, stop:
smokers are twice as commonly affected than nonsmokers. High blood pressure,
diabetes, and heart disease also increase your risk, yet another reason to keep
those conditions controlled. Some doctors recommend lutein supplementation.
Most importantly, protect your eyes from the sun with sunglasses, year round.
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Created: 11/2/2000  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 6/30/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.