Women actually face a higher risk of eye issues than men for various reasons. With April being Women's Eye Health month, one New Jersey eye doctor explains why this is so and what can be done about it.

According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, women account for 65% of cases of age-related macular degeneration, 61% of glaucoma cases and 66% of the world's blindness population.

Dr. Joseph Calderone of Better Vision New Jersey in Cranford said the incidence of eye disease increases with aging. Women tend to live longer than men so they tend to suffer more from cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome and any eye disease, which is related to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol or triglycerides and blood sugar problems.

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A study in The Ophthalmology Journal of The American Medical Association found that even though women may be more likely to access eye care than men, they are also more likely to report being unable to afford glasses.

Calderone said women have higher incidence of auto immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus and others, all of which, can be associated with eye diseases.

Fluctuating hormone levels associated with pregnancy can have adverse effects on vision.

"Pregnancy hormones decrease production of tear film components, so eyes of pregnant women tend to be drier. This does not say that pregnant women cry less, but that kind of tearing does not help with dry eye syndrome," said Calderone.

Fluid can build up in the tissues of pregnant women in the ankles, feet and eyes. This can change one's needs for glasses while pregnant. Furthermore, there could be changes in the cornea that could make it difficult to tolerate contact lenses.

But there are things women can do to help their eyesight. Calderone said it's important they get yearly eye exams. Quit smoking. He said age-related macular degeneration has a much greater impact on cigarette smokers.

Women need to eat healthy. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, arugula, broccoli, orange peppers, carrots, red grapes, salmon and tuna can slow the development of many age-related diseases, said Calderone.

Always wear ultraviolet eye protection. Unprotected UV light exposure during childhood can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration later in life, he said.

"Many sunglasses either don't have adequate UV filters or they sacrifice adequate surface cover for the sake of fashion. So when you go out and buy a pair of glasses that you think look trendy, make sure there's enough coverage so that when you put them on the sun can't get around them and get in your eyes," said Calderone.

When it comes to makeup, Calderone said throw out old makeup because of the risk of bacterial infections. Don't makeup too close to the eyes. He says stop at the eyelashes and don't get closer. Thoroughly remove all eye makeup before going to bed.

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