What We Know about Gender and Vision

  • By:Dr. Katie Dugan

If you’ve heard the reference of Mars and Venus regarding the differences between men and women, it’s no surprise that there are genetic differences that influence both physical and personality traits. Doctors have also found that gender can play a role in eye health.

Here are a few unique key variations when it comes to vision and gender:

  1. Color Blindness: Gender definitely plays a role in the risk of color blindness. It is estimated that men are 16x more likely than women to have genetic colorblindness. The genes that influence a person’s ability to see are on the X chromosome. Since women have two X chromosomes and men have only one, it is more likely that women will have at least one functional X chromosome which can make up for the genetic weaknesses of the other chromosome.
  2. Risk of Injury: Men tend to have a higher risk of eye injury compared to women. Many eye injuries happen in the home, and doctors haven’t quite explained why men are three times more likely to injure their eyes compared to women. It could be that men are more active or that they don’t use protective eye gear in risky situations.
  3. Puberty: Hormone changes happen in the teenage years – affecting almost all parts of the body. Did you know that puberty even plays a role in the way the eyes develop? Significant vision changes tend to happen at different ages for boys and girls, which makes sense since their hormonal changes occur at different points. Additionally, boys tend to have more dramatic growth spurts, which can have a bigger influence on vision changes as well.
  4. Hunter-Gatherer Hypothesis: Some people have suggested that the attention to the eye’s ability to focus on rapid movement or attention to detail might be rooted in the ancient traditions of men and women. Hunters were often men, who needed well-trained eyes that could spot rapid movement. On the other hand, women needed to identify nuances regarding color and details of close objects, which would be required when gathering edible plants.

These differences in gender or vision might be interesting, but the principles for good vision and healthy eyes remain the same for both men and women. The foundation should start with regular eye exams. If it’s time for a checkup, then our team can be reached at the Murrieta office: (951) 600-9226, or the Temecula office: (951) 302-1331.

Posted in: Eye Health