When you think of the differences between men and women, vision and eye health probably aren’t on the list.
By the time you finish reading this, they might be new additions, because women face many different eye health concerns over the course of their lives than men do. Women are more vulnerable to a number of eye diseases than men, though they are less likely to sustain a sight-threatening eye injury. What can women do to ensure good eye health?
Which Eye Diseases Affect Women More?
Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affect women more than men. AMD is the gradual loss of central vision and glaucoma is a group of conditions that cause permanent vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. Why are women more vulnerable? It’s a simple hazard of having longer life expectancies than men. Early detection through regular eye exams is the best way to fight them.
Sight-threatening conditions aren’t the only ones that women are more vulnerable to; chronic dry eye and basic refractive errors (the main reason people need glasses) disproportionately affect women too. The symptoms of dry eye include redness, irritation, discomfort, and blurred vision. If dry eye goes untreated, it can lead to a higher risk of eye infection, so come see us if you’re experiencing symptoms of dry eye.
What Are the Risk Factors for Eye Diseases?
The biggest risk factor for developing eye diseases is age, but others for women include pregnancy, birth control, and menopause, because each of those involves a major change in hormone levels. Hormone changes can also make dry eye more likely, and there is some indication that birth control can increase a woman’s likelihood of developing cataracts.
One risk factor we can actually do something about is neglect. A lot of women get so wrapped up in looking after the health needs of their families that they forget to take care of their own! If you’re a busy mom, don’t forget to schedule your own appointments too.
Fun Facts About Women’s Eyesight
All that eye disease talk can get very serious, so we want to leave things on a lighter note. Some of the differences between men’s and women’s eyes are harmless but fascinating. Women have been shown to be better at distinguishing subtle differences in colors than men are (particularly greens and yellows), while men are better at tracking motion. If you’ve argued with a significant other over paint swatches, you might be able to blame biology!
The Optometrist Is Your Best Resource for Eye Health
We encourage all of our patients to be proactive about their eye health. That includes avoiding bad habits like smoking and building good ones like eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep, and scheduling regular eye exams. However, feel free to ditch the schedule and come in sooner if you notice any changes in your vision between regular appointments.