Globally, glaucoma health care is progressing, but sexual differences in disease burden show little change over the past few decades. The long established understanding that, worldwide, men have higher glaucoma burden than women was reconfirmed in a newly published report.

The researchers also identified older age and lower socioeconomic status as factors affecting the greater sex differences in glaucoma burden. The prevalence study analyzed differences between sexes in glaucoma’s disability-adjusted life years (DALY), a metric designed to express the overall disease burden through the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. Overall, the changes in the glaucoma DALY number and crude rates were similar of both sexes between 1990 and 2017. The DALY rate for men decreased consistently from 10.7 in 1990 to 9.4 in 2017. For women, it dropped from 8.8 in 1990 to 8.0 in 2017. In 2017 alone, the global average age‐standardized DALY rates were 11.6±8.6 in women and 14.9±12.1 in men.

Accounting for age was also bad news for men as the researchers found sex differences increased with age, and men had higher rates than women of the same age across 195 countries.

Ye X, She X, Shen L. Association of sex with the global burden of glaucoma: an analysis from the global burden of disease study 2017. Acta Ophthalmol. Jan 7, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].