Why Women are at Higher Risk for Eye Disease than Men

April 12, 2020

Did you know that women are at higher risk for eye disease than men? With April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month, our Calgary optometrist decided to look into the reasons behind this startling fact.

You would think both men and women are relatively at the same risk of developing an eye disease. But research has shown that women are much more prone to suffering from eye-related issues than men, and across the globe they account for nearly 70 per cent of all visual impairments or blindness. With April being Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month, we wanted to take a closer look at why this is.

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Longer Life Expectancy Plays a Part

The fact that women generally live longer than men makes them more susceptible and likely to develop age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. According to the most recent data compiled by Statistics Canada, women are living an average of four more years than their male counterparts. While the overall life expectancy gap has been shrinking in recent years partly due to the lifestyles of women becoming more similar to that of men, an average of an additional four years of living leads to further risk of developing degenerative age-related eye diseases.

Hormones are a Factor as Well

This factor is most closely related to dry eye syndrome. More and more research is starting to definitively link the glands of our eyes and eyelids to being affected by hormonal changes, and as women reach menopause, the resulting hormonal imbalances are believed to be a contributing factor to dry eye syndrome. If left untreated, which is sadly often the case, dry eye syndrome can lead to decreased vision, pain, irritation, and redness. Further research has shown that chronic dry eye syndrome is up to two or three times more likely in women than men, and occurs most often either before, during, or after the menopausal cycle.

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What Can You Do?

One of the biggest tools in combating the proven gender discrepancy when it comes to eye health issues is regular examination. Data collected by a non-profit survey has shown that 25 per cent of women haven’t had their eyes examined within the past two years. While the diseases outlined above are incurable, early detection and treatment can mitigate their effects and severity. Awareness is also key. That same aforementioned survey discovered that less than 10 per cent of the women they spoke to were aware women are at a higher risk than men when it comes to losing their vision permanently. Five per cent even believed men were at higher risk.

By checking in with your Calgary optometrist regularly and conducting an eye exam at least once every two years, you can help stave off age-related eye disease and get the treatment necessary to do so. During the COVID-19 pandemic our Calgary virtual eye doctor would be glad to schedule you in for a telehealth appointment, and address any concerns you’re currently having with your vision. And if you need Calgary eye emergency help, we’re here for you.

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If you need immediate assistance or eye emergency help Calgary, contact our clinics at 403-256-0606 (Health First Optometry), 403-291-0923 (Sunridge Vision Centre), or 403-443-2040 (Three Hills Optometry).

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