March is Save Your Vision Month and we wanted to do our part by bringing to everyone’s attention the importance of more frequent visits to the optometrist. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.2 billion people in the world have a vision impairment or blindness, of which over 1 billion cases could have been prevented.
With that in mind, WHO along with 20 other international non-governmental organizations launched VISION 2020, a global initiative that aims to eliminate the main causes of all preventable and treatable blindness as a public health issue. Some of the conditions responsible for the increase of vision health risks include cataracts, trachoma, and refractive error. However, “dry eye and conjunctivitis must not be overlooked as they are among the main reasons why people seek eye health care services in all countries,” indicated the World report on vision.
Here at home, about 40 million Americans are currently at risk of reducing their vision, and even turning blind, due to age-related diseases. That’s why this Save Your Vision Month is the perfect time to highlight the importance of eye health and encourage more frequent visits to an ophthalmologist.
According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Most Americans know less about eye health than they think they do.” This represents a big risk since people are not taking the necessary measures to prevent certain eye diseases that, if captured in advance, can be avoided. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons and is urging people to get smart about their eye health.
The three main causes of blindness in the U.S. are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease. It’s important to keep in mind that people do not always experience symptoms that would drive them to visit a doctor. Ophthalmologists are medical and surgical physicians trained to recognize all the potential threats to vision; visiting one every year as part of your annual preventative check-ups can make all the difference to your eye health. It’s recommended that healthy adults by the age of 40 see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive, baseline eye exam. For people over 65 years old, the idea is to visit an ophthalmologist twice a year.
This Save Your Vision Month learn about eye health, book a visit to your ophthalmologist and help spread the word.