Americans are statistically more afraid of vision loss than most other health ailments, such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke; yet, only 20% of Americans are able to identify the three main causes of vision loss in America: diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. The good news is, it is never too late to educate yourself on proper eye care, warning signs of eye diseases, and treatment options for ocular conditions. Here, we will explore some critical eye care questions most Americans were not able to accurately answer.
True or False?: You will always experience symptoms before vision loss due to an eye disease.
FALSE! In cases of both glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, patients very well may not experience any symptoms of the disease plaguing them until it is too late. In the case of glaucoma, you may lose most of your peripheral vision before you realize you are affected. In the case of diabetic retinopathy, the disease can progress to a critical stage without the presence of an increase in blurry vision. In severe cases, diabetic retinopathy can cause complete blindness.
True or False?: Certain ocular conditions may run in the family.
True! Your risk of developing ocular conditions such as glaucoma and macular degeneration are increased if an immediate family member has been diagnosed with those conditions.
True or False?: There is nothing you can do to decrease your risk of developing ocular conditions such as macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.
False! Here are ways you can help improve your chances for healthy eyes as you age:
- Quit smoking (or never start)
- Eat a healthy diet with dark leafy greens
- Wear UV protective sunglasses
- Get regular eye exams
- Know your family’s eye health history
We hope sharing these facts with you doesn’t scare you, but rather may serve as a valuable reminder that vision loss is not always visible. Yearly eye exams are crucial in ensuring your most valued sense isn’t in invisible jeopardy.