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SOURCE American Optometric Association
78 percent of aging Americans affected by vision loss; American Optometric Association offers tips to protect eyesight throughout life
ST. LOUIS, Sept. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how well aging adults see the world around them. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association's (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older report experiencing some vision loss.
"The number of blind and visually impaired people is expected to double over the next 16 years," said Brenda Heinke Montecalvo, O.D., AOA Vision Rehabilitation Section chair. "This staggering statistic has implications for millions of aging Americans, but these changes don't have to compromise a person's lifestyle. Maintaining good health and seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis are important steps to help preserve vision."
Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Some symptoms that may seem like minor vision problems may actually be signs of serious eye diseases that could lead to permanent vision loss, including:
Dry eye is another common and often chronic condition that Americans can experience later in life. Dry eye occurs when there are insufficient tears to nourish the eye. Tears are important for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for clear, quality vision. Studies show that women are more likely to develop dry eye, especially during menopause.
Aging Americans will represent 19 percent of the population by 2030, up from 12 percent in 2000. Coping with age-related eye diseases and disorders and the resulting changes in health and lifestyles is top-of-mind for this growing group of consumers. The AOA's American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 40 percent of consumers age 55 or older are worried about losing their ability to live independently as a result of developing a serious vision problem. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly; therefore, adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight.
"Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health, said Dr. Montecalvo. "Early diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults' independence and quality of life."
For those suffering from age-related eye conditions, the AOA recommends following a few simple tips:
Maintaining yearly eye exams, or more frequently if recommended by an eye doctor, provides the best protection for preventing the onset of eye diseases and allows adults to continue leading active and productive lifestyles as they age. To find a doctor of optometry or for additional information on age-related eye conditions, visit www.aoa.org.
About the survey:
The ninth annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From March 20-25, 2014, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)
About the American Optometric Association (AOA):
The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit www.aoa.org.
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