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Intracranial Hypertension Linked to Vision Loss in Men

Men have twice the risk of severe visual loss from idiopathic intracranial hypertension

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Men with idiopathic intracranial hypertension were substantially more likely to develop severe vision loss than women, according to research published online Oct. 15 in Neurology.

Beau B. Bruce, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 655 women and 66 men with definite idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), diagnosed according to the modified Dandy criteria.

Men had significantly worse visual acuity and visual fields at initial evaluation and final follow-up than women, and they also had more than double the risk of severe visual loss in one or both eyes than women (relative risk, 2.1), the investigators found. Men were less likely than women to have a headache as the first symptom of IIH (55 versus 75 percent), but they were more likely to report visual disturbances (35 versus 20 percent), the authors report.

"Because visual loss in IIH is typically slow and insidious, the worse visual prognosis for men could be because men experience fewer non-visual symptoms to bring them to medical attention early in the course of their disease. Indeed, men were found to report significantly less headache as both a first sign of IIH and at the initial neuro-ophthalmology visit," Bruce and colleagues write. "Our findings that men with IIH frequently have substantial visual impairment at presentation and may report non-visual symptoms less often than women do suggest that men with IIH likely require more frequent monitoring and more aggressive treatment."

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