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Eye Health Education Roundtable: Understanding Eye Diseases that Disproportionately Affect Women Across the Lifespan

December 2, 2021 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm EST

Vision impairment is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States. More than 12 million Americans aged 40 and older are visually impaired or blind and the number is projected to double by 2050. Women are disproportionately affected by some of the most common eye diseases. Eye conditions can also present or affect women differently across the lifespan. Some are linked to specific events like pregnancy and menopause, while others become increasingly common and burdensome with age.

Disparities in eye diseases due to biology widen even further when considering factors such as social determinants of health; gaps in research data, literature, and policy; insufficient provider and patient education; and limitations in screening and treatment options. These sex and gender disparities are clinically under-addressed and burdensome on both patient quality of life and the health care and economic systems.

In December 2021, SWHR convened a diverse and interdisciplinary working group of clinical and public health researchers, health care providers, patients/patient advocates, and policy leaders for a closed, one-day roundtable meeting. The group discussed the health, social, and economic impacts of eye diseases that disproportionately affect women’s health.

SWHR’s Eye Health Program published the SWHR Patient Toolkit: A Guide to Women’s Eye Health in January 2022 to empower individuals to navigate their eye health and eye care as they age.


December 2, 2021
9:30 am - 4:00 pm EST
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The objectives of the roundtable are to:

  • Address the impact of eye diseases on women’s health across the lifespan, specifically for age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and thyroid eye disease;
  • Review the state of science and explore the best means to further research and develop comprehensive diagnosis and treatment strategies;
  • Identify opportunities to leverage innovation and increase access, quality of care, and health equity for women;
  • Promote science-based health care policies around eye health and vision to reduce disparities and improve patient outcomes; and
  • Develop materials to expand education and raise awareness about women’s eye health among women, health care providers, and policy stakeholders.

Roundtable Members

Kira Baldonado, MPH, Vice President, Public Health and Policy, Prevent Blindness

Trinh Green, MD, Physician and Glaucoma patient advocate

Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology, Director of Pediatric Retina, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah

James Jorkasky, MBA, Executive Director, National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research

Layla Lohmann, DDS, Dentist and Thyroid Eye Disease patient advocate

Elyse J. McGlumphy, MD, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Debra Schaumberg, OD, MPH, ScD, VP, Epidemiology & Head, Strategic and Scientific Affairs, Evidera | PPD, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Utah

Terry J. Smith, MD, Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Michigan Medicine

Erin Shriver, MD, FACS, Clinical Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

Nora Wong, MPH, Health Science Policy Analyst, National Eye Institute