Imagine struggling to see the numbers on a clock, or the letters on a sign, or the cars coming down the road. Think how discouraging it would be if you got a headache every time you read, or did homework, or tried to see an assignment on the blackboard. For a student to learn, he or she must be able to see. In the fast paced world most adults live in today clear comfortable vision is mandatory to function at peak capacity.
One out of four children has a vision problem, yet only one out of seven children has had an eye examination before starting school. Only one out of two teenagers has an eye examination by high school graduation. Less than half of all adults have their eyes examined on a regular basis.
Eye health is intrinsically linked to overall health. Thus Save Your Vision Month, celebrating its 80th year this March, has taken on a greater prominence in the health world with its emphasis on Healthy Eyes Healthy People.
Your eyes are often the best windows to your health. By looking into your eyes, your optometrist can tell a lot about your general health. For example, did you know that some systemic and chronic diseases, especially diabetes, can often be detected by an optometrist during a comprehensive eye exam?
Since over 33 percent of people with diabetes don’t know that they have it, an eye examination can be the only clue to detecting this potentially life-threatening disease. By dilating the pupil, your optometrist can see inside your eye using an ophthalmoscope, which lights and magnifies the blood vessels in your eyes. Changes to these blood vessels can signify various stages of diabetic retinopathy. Left untreated, it can cause blindness. For those suffering from diabetes without knowing it, the detection and treatment of this disease can mean relief on many levels.
Other eye diseases, like glaucoma, may cause vision damage and eventually blindness without the patient ever experiencing any symptoms. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist measures the pressure within your eye and examines the optic nerve in the eye, thereby determining the existence of glaucoma.
Save Your Vision Month raises awareness among the general public and targets at-risk groups to remind them of the need for regular, comprehensive eye examinations to detect eye health problems, general health issues, and vision difficulties.
More information is also available at the AOA Website