According to a report issued by Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute, eye diseases – including those that cause blindness – are on the rise in the US. The research shows that since 2000, there has been a marked increase in cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy has increased an alarming 89% over the last 12 years, and an estimated eight million people 40 and over now have this disease, which can lead to blindness.
Other results show:
- A 25% increase in macular degeneration affecting more than two million people over the age of 50
- A 22% increase in open angle glaucoma affecting nearly three million people 40-years-old and older
- A 19% increase in cataracts affecting more than 24 million people 40 and older
While vision can be restored if the patient has cataracts, provided they are caught in time, glaucoma can only be treated and the pressure relieved. The high percentage of diabetic retinopathy cases seems to be due to the diabetes epidemic plaguing the country, especially among minorities. A clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology calls the results “scary” and says they are “proof we are in a losing battle.” She also says the he increase in macular degeneration “mirrors the booming aging population.”
Protecting the eyes against these and other diseases is very important. Getting regular eye exams yearly can help head off any serious problems you may encounter later on in life. Eating healthy, getting your blood glucose levels checked, and talking to your healthcare provider, as well as your ophthalmologist are things you can do to keep your risks of eye diseases low.
If you believe you are at risk for these or other eye diseases, please find an experienced eye doctor in your area through eyes.com today.