August is National Eye Exam Month! Optometry Times cited surprising data from The Vision Council of America, which stated that 12.2 million Americans need some sort of vision correction, but have not benefited from any. Additionally, 50% of people with children under 12 have never taken their children to an eye-care professional. Evidently, many people are not participating in routine eye exams.
Receiving eye care is imperative for a multitude of reasons. Many eye diseases, including genetic disorders, require early detection in order to prevent permanent vision loss. Optometrists Network asserted that “early signs of chronic disease can be identified through comprehensive eye exams by eye care practitioners”, as the diseases can be marked from symptoms relating to the eyes and vision.
Some of the most common eye diseases according to the CDC include:
- Refractive Errors– Think near-sightedness which involves difficulty seeing objects at a distance, far-sightedness which causes trouble focusing on objects that are close, and astigmatism which can be categorized as an having an issue seeing objects at all distances.
- Diabetic Retinopathy– For individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss and blindness by affecting blood vessels in the retina due to high blood sugar accompanied with diabetes. Those particularly impacted by this condition include women with diabetes who become pregnant, along with women who develop gestational diabetes.
- Age Related Macular Degeneration– AMD is an eye disorder that stems from aging and impacts sharp and central vision. The two types of this disorder include wet and dry. Wet AMD results in blood and fluid leakage in the central part of the retina due to the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Dry AMD occurs when the central part of the retina thins due to aging and is the more common condition of the two types.
- Cataracts– This condition is classified as the clouding of the eye’s lens and can occur at any age, but primarily occurs at age 40 or older. Cataracts are extremely common, as 20.5 million Americans the age of 40 or older have cataracts in one or both eyes. However, only 6.1 million Americans have undergone the operative treatment to remove their cataracts. Genetic disorders can potentially increase the risk of cataracts.
- Glaucoma– Categorized as a group of diseases, glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve due to abnormally high pressure in the eye, leading to vision loss and blindness. Several forms of glaucoma have no warning signs or symptoms, making frequent eye exams that much more necessary.
- Amblyopia– More commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, amblyopia is common in children. One of the eyes has reduced vision because it is not working properly with the brain. Lazy eye can stem from a family history of lazy eye, and also from premature birth and other developmental disabilities.
Eye exams are crucial because not all eye conditions and diseases carry symptoms or indicators. Many impairments can be managed and treated with proper identification and care. Take some time this August to see an ophthalmologist to make sure you are seeing straight!
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