Nearly two out of three adults in the United States report having eye or vision problems, according to a national survey released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. A significant percentage of them, however, do not seek regular eye exams. In observance of Healthy Aging Month in September, UCLA Stein Eye and Doheny Eye Institutes join the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing the importance of having regular eye exams as recommended by your doctor to maintain healthy eyes and vision.
Common age-related eye conditions
Some of the more common age-related eye diseases include age-related macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can help to save sight before vision loss occurs. Ophthalmologists — the physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — recommend a dilated comprehensive eye exam as the best way to prevent these conditions from becoming debilitating.
Importance of eye exams
The survey results emphasize a need for more education about the importance of medical eye exams. Findings showed that 64 percent of adults had at least one or more of the following issues with their eyes or vision:
Difficulty seeing at night
Reading up close
Flashes of light
Red, watery eyes
Despite experiencing some level of impairment, 13 percent admitted they had never been treated by an ophthalmologist.
How often do you need an eye exam?
Ophthalmologists recommend that a healthy adult get a baseline eye exam at age 40, even if they have no history of eye problems or eye disease. Those who have chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may require more frequent exams.