Some eye diseases have no warning signs until damage has been done, but vision loss may be minimized if diseases are detected and treated early. That’s why comprehensive eye exams are essential to maintaining eye health and catching problems before symptoms occur.
Approximately 11 million Americans live with macular degeneration, which damages central vision and is a leading cause of legal blindness. Yet many people have never heard of the condition until they are diagnosed.
About 3 million Americans have some form of glaucoma, which affects side vision and can lead to blindness if not treated. An estimated half of these individuals aren’t aware they have the disease.
Comprehensive exams are particularly important for those at risk for vision diseases, including:
- Persons with a family history of glaucoma;
- Persons over age 60;
- Hispanics; and
- African Americans over age 40.
Ask your doctor how often you should schedule exams, based on your family history and risk factors.
BrightFocus Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting innovative research worldwide and promoting public awareness to end macular degeneration, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s disease, offers free eye information resources on its website, www.brightfocus.org/eye-health. Or call (800) 437-2423.