TFOS DEWS II Sex, Gender, and Hormones Report. Ocul Surf 2017;15(3):284-333.Abstract.
One of the most compelling features of dry eye disease (DED) is that it occurs more frequently in women than men. In fact, the female sex is a significant risk factor for the development of DED. This sex-related difference in DED prevalence is attributed in large part to the effects of sex steroids (e.g. androgens, estrogens), hypothalamic-pituitary hormones, glucocorticoids, insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 and thyroid hormones, as well as to the sex chromosome complement, sex-specific autosomal factors and epigenetics (e.g. microRNAs). In addition to sex, gender also appears to be a risk factor for DED. "Gender" and "sex" are words that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. "Gender" refers to a person's self-representation as a man or woman, whereas "sex" distinguishes males and females based on their biological characteristics. Both gender and sex affect DED risk, presentation of the disease, immune responses, pain, care-seeking behaviors, service utilization, and myriad other facets of eye health. Overall, sex, gender and hormones play a major role in the regulation of ocular surface and adnexal tissues, and in the difference in DED prevalence between women and men. The purpose of this Subcommittee report is to review and critique the nature of this role, as well as to recommend areas for future research to advance our understanding of the interrelationships between sex, gender, hormones and DED.