There are many differences between men and women — even when it comes to vision and eye health.
Men, for example, are more likely to experience sight-threatening eye injuries than women, whereas women tend to be more vulnerable to certain eye diseases. So what can men and women do to address their different eye health concerns?
How Eye Diseases Affect Women
Glaucoma (a group of conditions that cause permanent vision loss through damage to the optic nerve) and age-related macular degeneration (the slow deterioration of central vision) are much bigger problems for women than men. Why are women more vulnerable? Because they have longer life expectancies. The longer we live, the more likely we are to develop vision problems. The best weapon against sight-threatening conditions is early detection.
Other eye problems women are more vulnerable to are chronic dry eye and basic refractive errors (the ones we correct with glasses or contact lenses).
Risk Factors for Eye Disease
Age isn’t the only risk factor that can make women vulnerable to eye diseases. Others include the major changes in hormones that come with pregnancy, menopause, and birth control use. Hormone changes can also lead to dry eye.
One overlooked factor is neglect. Many women tend to prioritize their family’s health needs over their own. So our message to all the busy moms out there is this: don’t forget to schedule your own eye appointments when you’re scheduling them for your kids!
Men’s Eyes Can Fall Victim to Hormones Too
Men don’t go through as many dramatic changes in hormone levels as women, but during puberty, boys can sometimes become temporarily nearsighted as their eyes grow along with the rest of them, and that effect doesn’t go away in every case. Luckily, this is a problem we can easily correct with glasses.
Men’s Risk of Eye Injuries
The reason men are more likely to experience eye injuries than women is that they more often work in dangerous jobs and play dangerous sports. Compounding this risk is that they are generally less willing than women to wear protective gear — while being more willing to try to “tough it out” after an injury. Medieval knights wore full suits of armor; it’s not unmanly to wear eye protection! Please see an eye doctor if you suspect a problem with your eyes.
What About Differences in Vision Between the Sexes?
Yes, men and women literally see the world differently. Women are better at distinguishing subtle differences in color (while men are sixteen times more likely to be colorblind than women). Men, on the other hand, are better at tracking motion. If you’ve ever argued over paint swatches with your significant other, you might be able to blame biology!
We Look Forward to Seeing You
We urge our female patients to make their personal eye health needs a priority and we encourage our male patients to overcome the temptation to tough an eye injury instead of seeking treatment. Early treatment is crucial, as is early detection of sight-threatening conditions. Whether you’re due for a prescription update or it’s simply time for your next regular exam, we’re excited to see you again!