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May Is Healthy Vision Month

Four Good Reasons to See an Ophthalmologist

A recent Harris Poll reveals most people think they would notice a change in their vision if they had an eye disease. Some of the leading causes of blindness—such as glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy—can begin without any symptoms. That’s why the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology urge all healthy adults to get an eye exam at age 40, even if their vision seems fine. Early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to happen at this age.

“Even if you think you have 20/20 vision, set up a time to get your eyes checked. It may save your sight,” said Dianna Seldomridge, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“You have one pair of eyes, and I strongly encourage you do everything possible to protect your eyesight forever,” said Kapil G. Kapoor, MD, President of the Virginia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “The single best investment you can make for your visual future is to get your annual eye exam, because almost all causes of vision loss are preventable,” Dr. Kapoor added.

Here are four good reasons to see an ophthalmologist:

  • Your brain adapts to vision loss, making some eye diseases go unnoticed until it is too late. Once vision is lost, it cannot be restored. Ophthalmologists can spot eye disease before vision is compromised and protect your sight.
  • Seeing an ophthalmologist can improve not just your eye health, but your overall health. Because the blood vessels and nerves in your eye are reflective of the rest of your body, ophthalmologists are sometimes the first to diagnose diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or vitamin deficiencies.
  • Your eye health is dependent on different factors, including family history, ethnicity, age, and overall health. An ophthalmologist can help evaluate your personal risk factors and recommend the best steps for disease prevention.
  • Eye disease is also a looming problem for the U.S. healthcare system. As our population ages, the number of people afflicted with vision loss is expected to double by 2050.

For more information on eye health, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

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