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It’s Healthy Aging Month, a good time to think about your eye health and getting a regular exam

According to a national survey released by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly two out of three American adults report having eye or vision problems.

A significant percentage of them, however, fail to seek medical attention in the form of regular, sight-saving eye exams.

In observance of Healthy Aging Month in September, the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing the importance of having regular eye exams to maintain healthy eyes and vision.

Some of the more common age-related eye diseases include age-related macular degeneration, cataractdiabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

Early detection and treatment of these conditions can help to save sight before vision loss occurs. Ophthalmologists – the physicians that specialize in medical and surgical eye care – recommend a dilated comprehensive eye exam as the best way to prevent these conditions from becoming debilitating.

U.S. Adults Do Not Get Eye Exams as Often as Recommended

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
• blurry vision
• reading up close
• flashes of light
• red, watery eyes
• double vision

Despite experiencing some level of impairment, only 13 percent admitted they had been seen by an ophthalmologist. 

How Often Do Adults Need Eye Exams? 

The Academy recommends 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.

For those over age 65 who may be concerned about cost or lack of health insurance, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program offers eligible seniors a comprehensive eye exam and up to one year of treatment at no out-of-pocket cost. 

“As we age, things happen. And while it is true that the prevalence of certain eye diseases increases with age, it is absolutely not inevitable that you will lose vision with age,” said Benjamin Mackey, M.D., of Mackey Vision Center in Corbin.  

“Most age-related vision loss is either curable or preventable. But you can’t cure or prevent something about which you are unaware. That’s why we encourage you to regularly schedule a comprehensive exam with your local ophthalmologist.”

From Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons

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