Battle of the Sexes: Are Men or Women More at Risk for Eye Disease?

Male and female symbolsIn this day and age, everyone is striving for equality. But there are some things that just cannot be made standard across the board, and one of those is eye health. What may be surprising to you is that one gender is more predisposed to eye disease than the other. Want to take a guess?

Well, if you guessed feminine gender, you are correct. A study by PreventBlindness.org found that women are more likely than men to develop glaucomacataractsmacular degeneration, vision impairment and blindness. Interestingly, most women do not know that they are more at risk than men. If they did, women would probably be more likely to seek preventative care. Many cases of blindness and significant vision loss could be prevented by routine comprehensive eye exams.

Many eye problems begin around the age of 40, and conditions can develop so gradually that they are not even noticeable. The reason behind this has to do with the complexity of the brain. If one eye is experiencing vision loss, the brain will signal the other eye to compensate for the disparity between the strong eye and the weaker eye. A comprehensive eye exam would be able to detect visual weakness and be able to diagnose the eye condition.

Some of the leading causes of blindness in the United States are cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Early detection, quality treatment and regular monitoring can help control these conditions and prevent further vision loss and blindness. The most essential factor in good eye health is staying consistent with comprehensive eye exams. Most men and women should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years after the age of 40, but many women (and men who are at elevated risk for eye diseases) should have their eyes examined annually. African Americans are also at higher risk for degenerative eye diseases like glaucoma and should consult their eye doctor for guidance. It is important to develop a relationship with an eye doctor who can direct you in a personalized plan for preventative care. This decision will have lasting benefits and help preserve your precious gift of sight for years to come (Source: KHPO).