February is Save Your Vision Month. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has some advice to help protect you from losing good vision due to disease.
Have your eyes checked regularly by either an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Early protection is the key to reducing or preventing vision loss.
The leading causes of blindness among older Americans are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma can affect anyone, but people over age 50, African-Americans and Latin-Americans are at most risk. Age-related macular degeneration destroys central vision, making driving, reading and recognizing faces difficult. People age 65 and older are most at risk and should have an eye exam every two years. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is most effective when diagnosed in the early stages. Americans with diabetes must have a dilated eye exam every year and keep their blood-sugar level under good control.
Again, early detection is your best defense against losing your vision. See your eye professional if you are at risk for any of these diseases.
Roy Z. Braunstein, M.D.