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Battle of the Sexes: Eye Health Edition

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You might be surprised how different vision and eye health can be between men and women.

For instance, men are more likely to sustain a sight-threatening eye injury than women, but women are more vulnerable to a variety of eye diseases. What can men and women do to address their unique eye health concerns?

Women and Eye Diseases

Women are much more impacted by glaucoma (a group of conditions that cause permanent vision loss by damaging the optic nerve) and age-related macular degeneration (the gradual loss of central vision) than men. The reason is that women have longer life expectancies, so they more often grow old enough to be at greater risk. The best way to fight them is through early detection. Women are also more prone to chronic dry eye and basic refractive errors.

Eye Disease Risk Factors

Apart from age, other risk factors for eye diseases in women include pregnancy, menopause, and birth control due to the major changes in hormone levels that come with each. Hormone changes also increase the risk of dry eye. An overlooked risk factor is neglect. Many women prioritize the health needs of their families to the exclusion of their own. To all the busy moms out there, don’t forget to schedule your own appointments too!

Hormones Affect Men’s Eyes Too

During puberty, boys sometimes become temporarily nearsighted because their eyes are growing too. The effect doesn’t always go away. Fortunately, this is an issue easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

Men and Eye Injuries

Men tend to be more vulnerable to eye injuries because they more often work in dangerous jobs or play dangerous sports than women. What compounds this risk is that they are less willing to wear protective eyewear than women and more willing to tough something out if they do get injured. Wear your goggles! See an eye doctor if you have a problem!

How Vision Differs for Men and Women

Men and women also literally see things differently. Women are better at distinguishing between subtle color differences than men (men are actually sixteen times likelier to be colorblind than women), while men are better at tracking motion. So you can blame biology if you’ve ever argued over paint swatches with your significant other!

One theory to account for these differences is that they go back to the hunter-gatherer days when women needed to be able to tell nutritious plants apart from poisonous ones and men needed to be able to spot hunting game.

We’re Hoping to See You Soon!

As eye health professionals, we encourage our male patients to fight back the tendency to tough things out, and we encourage our female patients to prioritize their own health needs — schedule an appointment to come see us! Early detection is important for treating eye diseases and eye injuries alike, and even if everything else is fine, you could still be due for a prescription update.

Our patients are the best!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Written by Dr. Rania Montecillo

Dr. Montecillo calls Redmond her home after living all over the world. She was born in Egypt and raised in England where her parents were both studying medicine. Dr. Montecillo moved to Redmond to attend the University of Washington, where she attained her BS in Psychology. In 1998 she went on to Pacific University and earned her Doctorate in Optometry. Since graduation, she has been practicing right here in Redmond. In 2004, she joined Dr. Forrey at Redmond Eye Doctors and in 2007 she took over ownership.

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