Healthy Vision Month is a great time to learn more about eye health and how important regular comprehensive dilated eye exams are to maintaining healthy vision.
Early detection of eye disease is the key to preventing vision loss and blindness. Many people who are at risk for vision loss do not know it, and millions of people in the United States have undetected vision problems and eye diseases and conditions.
Are You At Risk?
Eyesight has a huge impact on day-to-day living and is one of the senses most fear losing most. Unfortunately, many people often do not pay attention to their eye health unless they notice a problem.
Many common eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness, such as diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), often have no early warning signs or symptoms.
Regular eye exams can help make sure the eyes are healthy, however the risk of vision loss and blindness is higher for some people based on race, ethnicity, and other socioeconomic factors.
You might be at higher risk for eye disease if you have a family history of eye disease; have diabetes; are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native; or are older than 50. Some diseases affect certain populations disproportionately.
- Glaucoma, which affects your side or peripheral vision first, is three times more common in African Americans than in Whites. It is a leading cause of blindness in African Americans.
- Diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness caused by uncontrolled diabetes, occurs more often in Hispanics/Latinos than in Whites.
- American Indians and Alaska Natives are 35 percent more likely to have diabetes than the average adult in the United States, putting them at increased risk of diabetic eye disease.
- Older adults are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions such as AMD, glaucoma, or cataract. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in Whites.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best thing you can do to protect your vision. In addition to having regular eye exams, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and wearing protective eyewear are just a few other things you can do to protect your sight.