- Every 7 minutes someone in the United States becomes blind or significantly vision impaired.
- Vision loss tends to strike later in life, specifically after age 60.
- Nearly one-quarter of those over age 80 are blind or vision impaired and they are the fastest growing segment of our population.
- Americans with blindness, low vision, or age-related eye disease is expected to grow by nearly one-third – to 50 million+ – by 2020.
- Vision loss poses a very serious challenge to those who would otherwise remain part of a productive work force beyond age 65.
- Currently, lost productivity because of vision loss accounts for over $9 Billion dollars in annual lost productivity.
- Low vision or blindness affects approximately 1 in 28 Americans over the age of 40 – 3.3 million Americans.
- An estimated 1 million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind.
- An association with vision loss and vehicular crashes has been shown in older adult drivers.
- Vision loss is a leading cause of falls in baby-boomers; one study found that visual field loss was associated with a 6-fold risk of frequent falls.
- Even mild visual impairment doubles the risk of mortality over a 5-year period.
“Blindness and vision impairment are on the rise in the United States. A recent report by Prevent Blindness America indicates that, since the year 2000, incidence of blindness and vision impairment has increased by 23 percent among Americans age 40 and older. However, most blindness in this country is preventable with proper eye care.” – The American Press
See…ing the Risk Factors…
In addition to age, major risk factors include a family history of eye disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, to mention a few.
Major findings from a survey conducted by Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, include the following replies from participants that clearly demonstrate most people do not SEE their risk factors:
- Even though age is one of the largest risk factors for eye disease, only 10% of people aged 65 or older consider themselves at high risk.
- More than a third of people in this age group said they did not get annual eye exams.
- Just 17% of people with a family history of eye disease saw themselves as being at high risk, suggesting that they did not know family history was a strong risk factor for age-related eye disease.
- 42% of those who answered the survey didn’t know that diabetes was a risk factor for diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness.
- Just one in four African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians surveyed knew that their ethnicity put them at higher-than-average risk for glaucoma.
- Only 14% of people who did not wear glasses considered themselves at moderate to high risk for eye disease. Good vision in early to middle adulthood has little bearing on risk for age-related eye disease.
Baby-boomers Checklist for Healthy Vision…
According to Dr. Evie Lawson, a practicing optometrist in Washington State, “A comprehensive eye examination provides doctors of optometry with information about the health of the eyes, and also offers indications about diseases that affect the whole body, like diabetes, hypertension and excessive cholesterol.”
The American Optometric Association developed a checklist, which presents questions about visual symptoms and scenarios where vision is especially important. If individuals answer YES to any of the questions, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with their eye health professional.
- Someone with diabetes, hypertension, or any other systemic or chronic disease?
- At risk for certain systemic or eye diseases because of family history or other factors?
- Having more difficulty reading smaller type, such as books and newspapers?
- Experiencing frequent headaches after working on a computer or electronic device?
- Doing a great deal of reading and other close work?
- Rubbing your eyes frequently or having tired or burning eyes?
- Losing track of a person or objects in your peripheral (side) vision?
- Avoiding close work?
- Having difficulty driving at night?
- Experiencing frequent near misses, accidents, or difficulty parking with driving?
- Handling or using chemicals, power tools or lawn and garden equipment?
- Playing eye-hazardous sports like racquetball, softball, or tennis?
- Having trouble with eye-hand-body-coordination?
- Playing sports and having trouble judging distances between you, the ball, or other objects?
- Having challenges judging distances, even when handling objects?
If you said YES to any question on the checklist, or you have not seen your doctor of optometry in over a year, be sure to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive examination. Your eyesight and eye health deserve to be protected and monitored. Even if you didn’t check yes, keep in mind that symptoms of vision problems aren’t always apparent and after age 60 you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam annually.
Take-off Your Blinders…
In the cited above survey, less than one in seven participants (15%) correctly identified at least half of the listed risk factors for age-related diseases.
“I am saddened to report that the survey confirmed that Americans are apparently more concerned about losing weight or back pain than the possibility of losing their sight,” according to Andrew Iwach, MD, a San Francisco ophthalmologist and spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Walking around with invisible blinders does not protect your eyesight.
Yes, we are living longer. That said, the challenge for us is to embark on wholistic rejuvenation principles to age without looking or feeling old…and YES…that includes our vision.
Comprehensive Natural Eye Care in…
My book, Don’t Be BLIND to Degenerative Eye Disorders is now available in eBook and paper version.
Section I – Discover the “Blind Truths” about the epidemic of eye disorders, particularly in baby-boomers; provides a check-list for healthy vision.
Section 2 – An in-depth look at the origin of headaches, the sinus and eye connection, and natural therapies for eyestrain and sinus headaches.
Section 3 – Dr. Gilbère shares her eye health secrets including a Chinese juice remedy, exercises to fight floaters and flashes, and self-tests for eye diseases.
Section 4 – Provides published case histories and investigative reports regarding Ocular Migraines and Posterior Vitreal Detachment.
As a special offer to my subscribers, we’ll include a FREE copy of my best-selling book, Pain / Inflammation Matters when you purchase either eBook or paper copy of Eye Disorders.
To order go to www.gloriagilbere.com or call (888) 352.8175 in the U.S. and Canada or Direct Line (208) 255.5252.