According to a national survey released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), nearly two out of three American adults report having eye or vision problems. A significant percentage of them, however, fail to seek medical attention in the form of regular, sight-saving eye exams. In observance of Healthy Aging Month in September, The California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons joins the AAO in emphasizing the importance of having regular eye exams to maintain healthy eyes and vision.
Some of the more common age-related eye diseases include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can help to save sight before vision loss occurs. Ophthalmologists – the physicians that specialize in medical and surgical eye care – recommend a dilated comprehensive eye exam as the best way to prevent these conditions from becoming debilitating.
U.S. Adults Do Not Get Eye Exams as Often as Recommended
The survey results emphasize a need for more education about the importance of medical eye exams. Findings showed that 64 percent of adults had at least one or more of the following issues with their eyes or vision:
- difficulty seeing at night;
- blurry vision;
- reading up close;
- flashes of light;
- red, watery eyes; and,
- double vision.
Despite experiencing some level of impairment, only 13 percent admitted they had been seen by an ophthalmologist.
How Often Do Adults Need Eye Exams?
Both Academies recommend that a healthy adult get a baseline eye exam at age 40, even if they have no history of eye problems or eye disease. Those who have chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may require more frequent exams.
"Sight is precious, and catching problems early can make a big difference in maintaining vision for the long term, says Rahul N. Khurana, MD, a retina specialist and CAEPS President.
Those over age 65 who may be concerned about cost or lack of health insurance, the AAO’s EyeCare America program offers eligible seniors a comprehensive eye exam and up to one year of treatment at no out-of-pocket cost.To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the AAO's EyeSmart® website.