Women Are at Greater Risk of Vision Loss Than Men

Fewer Than 10 Percent of American Women Know They’re at Greater Risk of Vision Loss Than Men, Survey Says

April 2014 — Only 9 percent of American women are aware that women have a greater risk than men of suffering permanent vision loss, according to a new national survey sponsored by Prevent Blindness. The online survey was conducted in January and collected information from more than 2,000 female respondents aged 18 and older.

Prevent Blindness, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight, is releasing the findings as part of Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month (April) to spotlight the need for greater public awareness of vision problems affecting women.

Mildred M.G. Olivier, MD, a leading expert on the eye health of women and children and spokesperson for Prevent Blindness, said the survey results indicate “an alarming lack of knowledge regarding women’s vision.”

According to the 2012 “Vision Problems in the U.S.” study funded by the National Eye Institute and the American Health Assistance Foundation, 61 percent of Americans with cataracts and 65 percent of those with age-related macular degeneration are women. Also, women account for 66 percent of Americans who are legally blind.

One reason for the higher incidence of these age-related eye conditions among women is that they tend to live longer than men.

To address these issues, Prevent Blindness has created a new program called “See Jane See: Women’s Healthy Eyes Now” that provides free information about women’s vision issues, including vision changes that can occur during pregnancy. To learn more, please visit the website SeeJaneSee.org.