With a major influx of age-related eye disease expected to impact residents across our community within the next decade, local ophthalmologists arent taking any chances on your vision. Area ophthalmologists are participating in EyeSmart, a national health campaign designed to raise awareness about age-related eye diseases and the easy steps we can all take to prevent vision loss and blindness as we age.
By the year 2020, a projected 43 million Americans will suffer from the effects of age-related eye diseases. While half of all area residents will be affected by an eye disease in their lifetime, many arent even aware theyre at risk.
Age-related eye diseases like cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration can cause serious vision loss or blindness, yet most Americans are unaware of the risks associated with them, according to a national survey released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Ophthalmologists are utilizing the EyeSmart campaign as a platform to inform area residents about common risk factors for age-related eye disease such as a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, as well as the importance of baseline eye disease screenings.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. For individuals at any age with symptoms of or at risk for eye disease, the Academy recommends that individuals see their ophthalmologist to determine how frequently their eyes should be examined.
Much like mammogram and colorectal screenings, eye disease screenings help identify signs of disease at an early stage, when many treatments can have the greatest impact. People with a family history of eye disease, who are more at risk for certain eye diseases, may be unaware of the factors that make them susceptible to eye disease.
The new recommendation does not replace regular visits to the ophthalmologist to treat ongoing disease or injuries, or vision examinations for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
With EyeSmart, ophtlamologists are doing everything they can to raise awareness throughout the community about the connection between eye disease screenings and healthy vision. Whether its providing eye health information to area employers or visiting nursing homes to talk to area seniors, ophtlamologists are making themselves available to the community to talk about this important issue.
Only an ophthalmologist an eye medical doctor can diagnose and treat the entire range of eye diseases. To learn more about how you take charge of your eye health, including locating an ophthalmologist in your area, visit www.geteyesmart.org.