Millions Of Americans Have Undiagnosed Vision Impairments

Jan 7, 2020

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Up to 16 million Americans have undiagnosed and untreated vision impairments. A survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA) reveals one-third of respondents don’t know how to take care of their eyes and only 54 percent get an annual comprehensive eye exam.

Those are findings discussed by Wausau optometrist Dr. Chris Marquardt, a recent past president of the Wisconsin Optometric Association. He says the year 2020 is also a time to thing about 20/20 vision.

Marquardt says many people equate good vision with health eyes, but that isn't always the case...

"..There are a lot of conditions that can be detected in a regular eye exam, an in-person exam with a Doctor of Optometry. You may go years without seeing any sorts of signs or symptoms. Things like glaucoma, macular degeneration, even systemic things like diabetes or high blood pressure can be going on in the back of the eyes and you would never know it..."

Dr. Marquardt says the eye exam sometimes reveals underlying health issues in people who haven't had a physical in many years. He says young kids often don't know what they can and can't see.

He cautions that a visit at a professional's office is still the safest way to check on your eye health...

"We're seeing a lot more changes in technology now. You may have seen companies that will promote on-line eye exams tele-health is a real thing. We're seeing this in primary care where physicians will do office visits remotely. To some extent there are things we can do with the eyes, but there's a lot more specialized observation that has to be done in person...."

Providers recommend annual eye exams for older adults and people with special conditions, while younger people could come in slightly less often.

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