Women’s Eye Health

Women are more likely to have eye diseases and disorders than men. Here’s a look at why, and how they do indeed represent a distinct market.

Tip: Dry eye… “Some newer studies show that hormone replacement therapy can cause dry eye syndrome to worsen in women.”

2.7 MILLIONof the 4.1 million Americans over age 40 who are visually impaired are women.


Women are at greater risk for not just visual impairment, but blindness as well. One reason, of course, is that in the U.S., anyway, women live longer. In fact, the Census Bureau reports there are twice as many over-age-85 women as men.

According to the National Eye Institute:

• 2/3 of the blind and visually impaired are female.

• Women are more likely to suffer from such eye diseases as AMD, glaucoma, and cataracts.

• There are 4.1 million Americans age 40 and over who are visually impaired, and 2.7 million of them are women.

• More women than men have refractive errors that go untreated.

• Plus, women have an increased risk for autoimmune diseases. They also undergo hormonal changes that men do not.


It’s a huge factor for women. In fact, dry eye is twice as likely to affect women. That translates to more than 3 million women vs. 1.5 million men who have dry eye.

• PREGNANCY: Pregnant women often experience refractive changes, puffy lids, and dry eye. They may also suffer from the visual impact of migraines, diabetes, and high blood pressure during pregnancy. 

• MENOPAUSE: According to visionaware.org, “Increasing numbers of research studies show that the glands of the eyes and eyelids are affected by hormonal issues. As women age, and especially as they reach menopause, they can experience hormonal imbalances that are thought to contribute to dry eye syndrome. Hormone replacement therapy was thought to combat this situation, but some newer studies show that hormone replacement therapy can actually cause dry eye syndrome to worsen.”

• DAMAGE: Plus, women who undergo menopause earlier than average are more likely to have surface eye damage from dry eye.

You know one answer to these problems. It’s an annual, dilated eye exam. The challenge? Getting women in your market to follow through and not just schedule exams for their kids, but for themselves as well.

How do you handle this in your practice? Tell us about it and share in the conversation on Facebook here.

Erinn Morgan