Do Men and Women See Differently? By Gordon Wong, OD on July 07, 2021

Male and femaleHow many times have people made exasperated claims that men and women just don’t seem to see eye to eye? Well, recent research shows that there may be more fact to that statement than people realize. Scientific studies have found that gender can play a role in vision capabilities, leading men and women to see differently.

The differences in vision function may not be glaringly obvious, but data indicates that women do better with some types of vision, while men excel with others. Here, the optometrists at GW Eye Associates, serving the La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and San Diego, CA, area, explain how a person’s vision may be impacted by their gender, and why.

Color Perception

Statistically, women are less susceptible to color blindness. However, their advantages regarding color perception go further than that. Even when compared to males who have not been diagnosed with color blindness, women seem to be able to distinguish between colors more easily than men. This allows women to more accurately identify the color of an object that may be between two similar hues, like blue and green.

Women have also been shown to better detect subtle differences in color shades. For instance, a man may see all shades of purple as the same, while a woman is more likely to notice whether a purple object is better classified as grape, lavender, eggplant, etc.

Distance and Tracking

While women have the advantage when it comes to color perception, it seems that men are better able to make out details, especially when objects are at a significant distance. Men also excel in the tracking department. If something is in motion, males are generally better than women at keeping it focused in their line of sight.

What Causes Men and Women to See Differently?

Research firmly points to the differences regarding male and female eyesight, but there is no concrete evidence explaining why these differences exist. Most scientists believe that the differences in male and female eyesight are probably a combination of hormones, brain wiring, and evolution.

There are three dimensions that help with color perception: hue, saturation, and brightness. All of these are stimulated by wavelengths of light. Males require a longer wavelength of light than women to distinguish between the colors, most likely because their brains are wired differently. Historically speaking, women were more likely to play the role of gatherer. In this role, being able to distinguish colors could be vital in selecting berries, fruits, etc. that were safe vs. those that were poisonous. Many believe that this contributed to women evolving to have better color perception.

The ability to visually track an object is largely related to neurons in the visual cortex. These neurons are enhanced by male hormones, which leads men to have up to 25 percent more neurons in this area of the brain than women. This, along with a history of males playing the role of hunter may explain why men are likely to have more advanced visual tracking capabilities than women.

Get In Touch

Regardless of gender, everyone is susceptible to vision impairment and eye diseases. The best way to promote clear vision and good eye health is professional eye care. If you would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with the optometrists at GW Eye Associates, send us a message online or call us at (858) 454-4699.

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GW Eye Associates

Our team at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla and Del Mar can provide a wide range of high-quality eye care services. Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong have over 45 years of combined experience and belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Optometric Association
  • NVISION

For more information about our services, contact our office online or call us at (858) 454-4699 today.

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