Why Women Need Reading Glasses Before Men
While studies had consistently reported that women require reading glasses or bifocal lenses earlier than men, it is only now that researchers have found out the why of it. A study has discovered that this gender difference is caused by factors other than focusing ability. According to a paper in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, women end up requiring reading glasses early on because they hold books and other reading material closer to their eyes than men. The researchers claim that this discrepancy is likely due to differences in preferred reading distances or arm length.
The new evidence was found by a team of researchers from University of California who were studying the prevalence and magnitude of presbyopia—commonly described as the loss of near vision that occurs with age—among men and women. While the results of a subgroup of studies showed that there was no significant gender-related difference in the eye’s ability to focus clearly on objects at near distances, the overall analysis provided evidence that women have a need for higher power reading glasses or bifocals than men of an equivalent age.
According to the researchers, clinicians need to do more than measure the eye’s ability to focus when diagnosing presbyopia. They also suggest more carefully performed studies be conducted that better isolate and measure the various factors that contribute to its development. In particular, the paper states studies that consider the interaction between the preferred reading distance and the change in accommodative amplitude across time for males and females could help determine to what extent biological factors or environmental factors play a role in the loss of focusing ability with increasing age.
The researchers write: ‘The findings reinforce the need for presbyopia correction programs for women—a group that often has greater unmet vision needs in developing countries’. Their report also points out that presbyopia is a multi-factorial problem and requires solutions that are tailored to individual needs.