How many people have dry eye disease? Do women get the condition more often than men? And is there a link between dry eyes and poor sleep?

Read on to discover the most significant eye health statistics. We include eye strain statistics and facts about dry eye.

Nearly 16 million Americans have dry eye disease

This is one of the most significant dry eye statistics today.

Early symptoms of dry eye disease often go undiagnosed. According to the US National Eye Institute, you can get dry eye if you spend a lot of time looking at a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

The prevalence of dry eyes increases with age as the tear glands secrete fewer tears. The condition is chronic and progressive.

Dry eyes are two to three times more common in women than in men

Hormonal changes that affect women are likely to blame. Estrogen and progesterone fluctuations can affect the quality and quantity of the tear film. This in turn can cause dry eyes, grittiness in the eye, light sensitivity, eye redness, and other symptoms.

closeup of woman's face with brown eyes and right eye in the shadows

What’s more, women who take birth control pills or who are pregnant may also develop dry eyes. Women experiencing menopause may also get the condition.

Almost one in two people with dry eyes have poor sleep

The link between dry eyes and sleep problems deserves a mention among dry eye facts. Having frequent dry eye symptoms increases the prevalence of poor sleep.

If you have dry eyes and trouble sleeping, avoid using screens at night. Try also to develop a bedtime routine to give your body the cue that it’s time for sleep.

For example, cool down your room, dim the lights, and read a book before going to bed. Check out these sleep hygiene tips to improve the quality of your sleep.

About 93 million American adults are at a high risk of vision loss

However, many of them are not aware of this. According to the same source, only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.

General recommendations for how often to see an eye doctor depend on age and existing medical conditions:

  • Adults under 30 – Once every year.
  • Adults between 30 and 40 – Twice every year.
  • Adults over 40 – When you turn 40 and then regularly based on your eye health.
  • Adults over 65 – At least every year.

If you have any eye conditions or wear glasses or contact lenses, you may have to see an eye specialist more often according to your eye doctor’s recommendation.

Nearly 70% of computer users suffer from digital eye strain

This is one of the big eye health facts this year. Prolonged computer use increases the risk of Computer Vision Syndrome. Symptoms include dry eyes, redness and itchiness in the eye, blurriness, and head and neck aches.

Blinking more often and taking frequent breaks from the screen may reduce the risk of digital eye strain. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. While using a screen, remember to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

90% of diabetes-related blindness can be prevented

The most common cause of blindness in people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the delicate blood vessels that supply the retina at the back of the eye.

man's hand putting diabetes friendly sweetener into coffee cup while his other hand holds the saucer

Early diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms. But it can be diagnosed through a dilated eye exam. Unless caught early, by the time the first symptoms appear it may already threaten your eyesight.

About 2,000 US workers sustain eye injuries related to their work every day

Some of these injuries are severe and can lead to vision loss. Eye protection, including safety goggles and glasses, can help reduce risks.

Safety glasses can also protect your eyes at home during activities in the yard or garage. Eye accidents sometimes happen when you least expect them.

Common culprits include chemicals in household cleaning products, tree branches, and flying debris when mowing the grass. Accidents while playing sports may also lead to eye injuries.

Tip: Check our post on what to do in an eye emergency.

Vision loss costs the global economy 411 billion a year in productivity losses

This eye health fact comes from the 2021 Vision Atlas released by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.

The leading causes of vision loss in the developed world are cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Some of these conditions can be treated if caught early. Lifestyle changes and a healthy diet may also help manage some of them.

More than 24 million Americans over 40 have cataracts

Cataracts also affect about half of all Americans by age 75. The characteristic symptom of cataracts is a cloudy area in your vision. Living with cataracts may feel like seeing the world through a fogged-up lens.

Early symptoms include poor night vision, faded colors, increased nearsightedness, and light appearing too bright. Cataracts go on to cause vision loss if left untreated.

Cataracts are treated through surgery. The procedure takes up to 45 minutes and is not painful.

Myopia affected nearly 30% of the world population in 2020

By 2050, myopia could affect half of the world’s population. These myopia statistics highlight nearsightedness as one of the world’s major eye problems.

eyeglasses on laptop against blurry keys and screen

There is no proven way to prevent myopia. But a 2017 review article noted that exposure to daylight may help lower the risk of myopia in children at least.

By contrast, close-up work, including using a computer, increases the risk of nearsightedness.

About 1 billion people worldwide have Meibomian gland dysfunction

The meibomian glands secrete the oily part of the tear film. They sit along the edge of the eyelids.

Meibomian gland dysfunction is a leading cause of dry eyes. More specifically, it can cause evaporative dry eye. It can also alter the composition of the tear film that normally lubricates the surface of the eye.

Many factors may contribute to meibomian gland dysfunction including genetics, hormones, environment, and contact lens use.

Brown is the most common eye color

45% of people in the US have brown eyes, according to eye color statistics provided by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Meanwhile, 27% of people have blue eyes, 18% hazel eyes, and 9% green eyes. Other eye colors represent only 1%.

And with that, our list of eye health statistics comes to an end. To keep your eyes healthy, eat more of the top superfoods for dry eyes.

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