Women are more susceptible to many different eye diseases than men, but men have their own unique eye health concerns. What’s more, men and women don’t process visual information quite the same.
On average, men tend to be better at spotting fine details and rapid movement than women, but they aren’t quite as good at distinguishing different colors. One theory as to why goes back to hunter-gatherer days. Men did the hunting while women did the foraging, so the men would have needed to spot game at a distance in order to be effective hunters, whereas the women would’ve needed to spot the difference between nutritious and poisonous plants.
Women’s advantage with color vision goes a little farther: men are sixteen times more likely than they are to be colorblind! Among other things, that means that a couple arguing over paint swatches might literally not be seeing the same colors.
Starting with puberty, changing hormone levels can actually affect the way the eyes grow. Teenage boys sometimes become temporarily nearsighted during a growth spurt because their eyes are getting longer, and sometimes the nearsightedness is permanent. Either way, glasses or contacts are an easy solution.
Another way men and women are different when it comes to eye health is that men are more prone to eye injuries due to being more likely to play dangerous sports or perform labor-intensive jobs. What makes this more of a problem is that men tend to be less willing to wear protective gear than women. Don’t forget your eyewear! 90% of eye injuries are preventable with the right protective gear.
There’s a lot we can do to keep our eyes healthy, not just wearing safety goggles. Eating healthy is good for our eyes, and so is regular exercise. Great foods to eat for eye health include salmon, tuna, eggs, spinach, kale, nuts, and citrus fruits. These foods are packed with vitamins A and C and omega-3 fatty acids.
For men who spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen for their jobs, it’s important to give your eyes regular breaks so you don’t end up with digital eye strain. Simply follow the 20-20-20 rule by looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
One final way men tend to differ from women in the realm of eye health is that they’re more likely to try to tough it out when something goes wrong instead of just coming to see the eye doctor. We encourage our male patients to fight that misguided macho impulse and keep up with regular eye exams!