Blindness risk double in men

December 1, 2008

Despite the higher rate of prevalence in women, it is men who are more likely to suffer severe vision loss as a result of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), according to study results published online ahead of print by Neurology.

Despite the higher rate of prevalence in women, it is men who are more likely to suffer severe vision loss as a result of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), according to study results published online ahead of print by Neurology.

Beau B. Bruce, MD of Emory University, Atlanta, US and colleagues conducted a medical record review of IIH patients (n=721) in three hospitals. Subjects, who underwent neuro-ophthalmologic testing, were segregated for gender (male, n=66; female, n=655) and a statistical comparison was undertaken.

The men included in the study were older and more likely to suffer from sleep apnoea than the women: 37 vs 28 years and 24% vs 4%, respectively. As a first symptom of IIH, men tended to report visual disturbance and women, headaches. At the final follow-up point, mean visual acuity was worse for men than for women. After logistical regression analysis, the researchers determined that the 2.1 times increased chance of men developing severe visual loss when compared with women was correlated to sex.

The team therefore concluded that men are more than twice as likely to sustain severe vision loss, to the extent of being declared legally blind, than women, which may be related to the differences in the symptom profile presented by the different genders.