This article was updated on August 10th, 2021
August is National Eye Exam Month and an excellent time to bring to everyone’s attention the importance of more frequent visits to the eye doctor. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most people have increased the use of electronic devices, whether computers, e-readers, cellphones, and more, making eyes more susceptible to tiredness. But there have also been manifestations of eye infections related to the disease, a review of Ophthalmic Manifestations of COVID-19 indicated.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.2 billion people worldwide have a vision impairment or blindness, of which over one billion cases could have been prevented. Some of the conditions responsible for increasing 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 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 National Eye Exam 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 significant risk since people are not taking the necessary measures to prevent certain eye diseases that can be avoided if captured in advance. 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 leading causes of blindness in the U.S. are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic eye disease. It’s essential 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 National Eye Exam Month, save your vision by visiting your eye doctor more often. Also, learn about eye health, and help spread the word.