New Theories On Why Women Need Reading Glasses Earlier Than Men

  • BY Justin Alvarez

For years, it has been unclear why women tend to be diagnosed with presbyopia, or aging-related vision loss, sooner than their male counterparts, but a new report published in a recent issue of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science may finally shed some light on the issue.

Researchers in California and Texas examined nine previously conducted studies about presbyopia in men and women to compare the frequency and severity of the disease. As the previous studies had shown, women tended to receive bifocals and reading glasses earlier to men as well as require a higher prescription. However, even though the study found no difference in the focusing abilities between both sexes, because women’s arms are, on average, shorter they tend to hold reading materials closer to their eyes and which may affect focusing ability.
“These findings could impact global vision care in multiple ways,” Adam Hickenbotham, of UC-Berkeley, said in a news release from the Association for Research in Vision and Opthalmology. “The findings reinforce the need for presbyopia correction programs for women – a group that often has greater unmet vision needs in developing countries. It also points out that presbyopia is a multi-factorial problem and requires solutions that are tailored to each individual.”
Further studies will need to take place, as Medical Daily wrote, “particularly ones that are more careful to control for outside factors that may contribute to the condition’s development.” However, as the paper’s authors stated, “Greater comprehension of the etiology of presbyopia and its contributing factors among medical and vision care providers could lead to changes in correction methods and account for sex differences in near-vision requirements.”