October is Blindness Awareness Month

A WHO study from 2010 found that there are 285 million people who are visually impaired worldwide and 39 million of these are blind. World Sight Day, which falls on the second Thursday of October, and Blindness Awareness Month, both focus on bringing awareness to blindness causes, especially ones that are preventable. 

Did you know?

  • Globally around 1 billion people are not able to see well and do not have access to glasses.
  • Cataracts and uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of vision impairment and blindness.
  • Up to 80% of vision impairment can be prevented.
  • Eighty-two percent of people with vision impairment are over the age of 50.

Four ways you can protect your vision from preventable eye conditions:

  1. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your eye care professional.  A dilated eye exam can catch eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.  Early detection allows for treatment that can slow or lessen the progression of these eye conditions.
  2. Discuss options for correcting refractive errors with your eye care professional.  Refractive errors include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, presbyopia.  Though these cannot be prevented, once diagnosed, most can be corrected.  Uncorrected refractive errors account for 43% of vision impairment worldwide. 
  3. Stop or avoid smoking! This may reduce your risk of developing such eye diseases as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, or glaucoma.
  4. Live a healthy and active life!  Eating healthy and staying physically active can lower your risk of developing diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma.

By focusing on your health, scheduling an annual comprehensive eye exam with your eye care professional, and correcting refractive errors will help you protect your vision now and for the future.