The National Eye Institute, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), has declared May as “Healthy Vision Month.” The purpose of Healthy Vision Month is to “encourage people and organizations around the world to recognize the value of the sense of sight and make vision health a priority,” NIH said, in a release it issued May 12, 2011.
“Healthy Vision Month is designed to elevate vision as a health priority for the Nation,” according to the National Eye Institute’s website dedicated to Healthy Vision Month. The National Eye Institute encourages early detection of eye problems “through a comprehensive dilated eye exam,” especially for adults aged 50 and older.
According to NIH’s May 12 release, “an estimated 14 million Americans are currently visually impaired due to eye diseases and disorders, and this number continues to grow as the population ages. Of adults aged 40 and older, more than 4 million currently have diabetic eye complications, more than 2 million have glaucoma, and more than 1.75 million have age-related macular degeneration. Millions of Americans have common, correctible vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism. The prevalence of nearsightedness alone has increased 66 percent in the past 30 years, according to a 2009 NEI study.”
National Eye Institute and NIH studies have found that statistically, the incidence of different vision impairments is different for different races and ethnic groups.
The NIH advises that, “The best way for any person, regardless of their ethnicity, to detect vision problems at the earliest, most treatable stages, is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This simple, painless procedure allows an eye care professional to examine the eye through an enlarged pupil and gain a more complete look at any changes in eye health.”
In a pamphlet for adults aged 50 and older, entitled, Make Vision a Health Priority!, the National Eye Institute advises, “If you are aged 50 or older, make a point of visiting your eye care professional annually. Having a dilated eye exam every year or as recommended by your eye care professional can help detect age-related eye diseases in their early stages. Early detection and treatment can help save your sight.”
For more information on Healthy Vision Month, see the National Eye Institute’s Healthy Vision Month website.
On its website, the National Eye Institute provides a Healthy Eyes Toolkit, which contains a wealth of information on eyesight and eye health, including web based resources, handouts and fact sheets. Among the fact sheets provided, are the following:
- Financial Assistance for Eye Care;
- Tips for Finding an Eye Care Professional;
- Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes;
- The Aging Eye: Age-Related Eye Diseases and Conditions; and
- Additional Fact Sheets on common vision problems, including:
For More Information on Eye Health
See, the National Eye Institute’s Eye Health Information website.
See also our resource pages on Medical Conditions Commonly Faced by Seniors > Eyesight Problems, which contains Latest News on Eyesight Problems, and information on Eyesight Problems, including What are they/ Causes; Symptoms & Diagnosis; Prevention; Treatment; and Caregiving.
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