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Eye Disease: Which Gender is More at Risk for Eye Disease?

Let’s play a little comparison game of Men vs. Women. Who doesn’t love some good, old fashioned gender competition?

  • Which gender is better at multi-tasking? A study by the BBC says—women.
  • Which gender is better at driving a car? A study by the University of Utah says—men
  • Which gender is better at social networking? A study by LinkedIn says—men
  • Which gender has better memory? A study from Norwegian University of Science and Technology says—women

We could go round and round with no clear winner, but statistics do show that men and women display their strength of body and of mind quite differently. One area in which women are statistically weaker is their risk of eye disease. A study by PreventBlindness.org found that the female sex is more likely than her male counterpart to develop chronic eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, visual impairment and blindness.
Unfortunately, most women are unaware of this fact, and thousands of American women neglect to have their eyes examined. Delayed examinations or missed exams increase risk of vision loss and possible blindness.
Many eye care professionals recommend comprehensive eye exams every 1 to 2 years. Comprehensive eye exams may include, but are not limited to, the following tests:

  • Visual Acuity test—assesses how clearly you see
  • Visual Field test—helps determine blind spots or peripheral issues
  • Cover test—can identify strabismus or binocular vision problems
  • Glaucoma test—measures eye pressure
  • Dilation—examines health of optic nerve, retina and blood vessels

Many degenerative 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.
There are several eye diseases like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy which have no symptoms in the early stages but can cause irreversible eye damage. Routine preventative care ensures that any vision problem can be detected early. Because women are more at risk for chronic eye disease, it may be necessary to have an annual comprehensive eye exam, especially if eye conditions like glaucoma run in the family. Ethnicity can also compound risk, and statistics show that African Americans are more susceptible to certain eye conditions like glaucoma.
The best way to determine the frequency of your comprehensive eye examinations is to talk to your eye doctor. Also, familiarize yourself with your insurance benefits. Many vision care plans offer one comprehensive eye exam per year, so use your eye care benefits, ladies! And that goes for you too, men. Take care of your eyes today, and they will take care of you in the future (Source: KHPO).