Do Men and Women See Things Differently?

There are obvious biological and behavioral differences between men and women. Less obvious are differences in vision, specifically our sensitivity to details and movement as well as the way we view changes in color.

Brooklyn College professor Israel Abramov offered different tests to young men and woman to examine gender differences in eyesight. For one part of the study, researchers asked volunteers to describe different colors. Their experiments showed that men required a slightly longer wavelength of color to experience the same shade women could. Colors with shorter wavelengths like green appeared greener to women while colors with longer wavelengths like orange seemed more orange to men. The study also suggested that women may be more proficient at telling the difference between shades of color.

There was also a difference in how participants observed images of contrasting colors, size and brightness. Men had an easier time identifying the rapidly changing images comprised of thinner bars, suggesting a “greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli.” Researchers explained that hunter forebears may have needed more sensitive sight to detect predators or prey.

Studies aside, gender differences in vision health are alarmingly large. Of the 160 people in the world who are blind or visually impaired, 70% are women. More women than men suffer from glaucoma, and are at higher risk of macular degeneration. Women are also at greater risk of dry eye syndrome on account of hormone fluctuations during pregnancy or post-menopause. A sampling of 1000 adults in 2010 revealed that 73% of women suffered seasonal allergies leading to itchy, watery eyes, compared to 67% of men.

Gender aside, the need for regular comprehensive eye exams remains the same. Men and women should be concerned about the health of their eyes, eating fruits and leafy green vegetables, wearing sunglasses with UV protection and cleaning hands and contact lenses properly.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam, you should contact our Los Angeles eye doctors at 877-871-1684.