Few Women Know They’re at Greater Risk for Low Vision


Many people misunderstand the implications of low vision. According to Prevent Blindness, women are at greater risk for developing low vision, but few know it.

Understanding low vision
WebMD describes low vision as the loss of sight that cannot be corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. People diagnosed with low vision usually have some degree of sight. They learn to cope with these vision changes by using magnifying tools or non-optical devices, such as text-reading software; clocks, watches or phones with high-contrast numbers that audibly announce information or feature big numbers; or books and magazines printed in large type.

A 2014 Prevent Blindness online survey revealed that only 9 percent of American women were aware that they are at greater risk than men of suffering permanent vision loss.

Categories and types
The American Optometric Association reports that there are two low vision categories:

  • Partially sighted – Vision is considered between 20/70 and 20/200
  • Legally blind – Vision with prescription correction is no better than 20/200, and field of vision may be less than 20 degrees wide

The most common types of low vision are:  loss of central vision, loss of side (peripheral) vision, night blindness, and blurred or hazy vision. Low vision may occur at any age and may develop as a result of an eye or brain injury, diabetes, cancer of the eye or stroke. Normal aging of the eye does not cause low vision.

Other vision risks for women
Research conducted in 2012 by the National Eye Institute and American Health Assistance Foundation discovered that women are at greater risk than men of developing age-related macular degeneration (65 percent), cataracts (61 percent) and becoming legally blind (66 percent).

Have you noticed any vision problems as you age?