16.11.2016 Health News

Eye disorders more common in women

Women outnumber men for eye services provided in Australia

Australian women are not only using more optometric services than men, they also suffer a higher rate of vision disorders.

Medicare statistics reveal that of the 8.48 million optometric services provided in 2015-2016, women received around 57% of those services and men, 43%.

From ages five to 85+, females outnumbered men in the number of services delivered.

Women aged between 45 and 74 years of age absorbed the highest level of optometric services (around 2.34 million) compared to those provided to men in the same age bracket (around 1.77 million services).

Men on the other hand, are almost five times more likely than women to need a foreign body – such as bits of metal, sand, dirt and grit and vegetative matter – embedded in their eye removed by an optometrist. Of the 8,222 services provided by optometrists to remove a foreign body from the eye, men accounted for 6,826 of these.

Australia’s Health 2016, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare also reveals that more than 55% of Australians – or over 12 million – have at least one long-term vision disorder and of these, vision disorders were more common among females (59%) than males (51%)[1].

The most common vision disorders were long-sightedness and short-sightedness with one in four Australians reporting each condition.

Australia’s Health 2016 also revealed that one in two Australians wear glasses or contact lenses[2].

Optometry Australia’s Senior Resident Optometrist Simon Hanna said that 75% of vision loss was able to be prevented or treated with early detection.

Optometry Australia recommends:

1. Having your eyes regularly examined by an optometrist.

2. Learning to look for warning signs of eye health and vision issues such as blurred or distorted vision, eyestrain and headaches.

3.Talking about your family’s eye history as many eye diseases are hereditary.

4. Watching your children and look for signs of poor concentration, squinting, poor hand-eye coordination, inability to read things in the distance or any form of sensitivity or discomfort.

5. Always wearing sunglasses when outdoors – year-round – as our eyes are 10 times more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation than our skin.

6. Eating well as essential nutrients support good eye function.

7. Helping to prevent eye strain or “computer vision syndrome” by ensuring that you and your children take regular breaks from computers, tablets and mobile phone screens. To help slow progression of myopia, or short-sightedness in children, also encouraging them to go outdoors between indoor and “near” tasks.

8. Always wearing eye protection when doing tasks such as gardening, mowing, painting, chopping wood or working with any type of grinding or chopping equipment, to prevent foreign objects – such as small pieces of debris – becoming embedded in your eye.

1. After adjusting for differences in the age structure of the population

2. Based on 2012 figures as reported by ABS 2013b