Clinical Use

Clinical Use

by Shirley Yin-Piazza

Adults 40 Plus

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, follow-up exams and the necessary intervals will be prescribed.

Refractive errors are the most frequent eye problems in the United States. Refractive errors include myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances), and presbyopia that occurs between age 40–50 years (loss of the ability to focus up close, inability to read letters of the phone book, need to hold newspaper farther away to see clearly) can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, or in some cases surgery.

Several common eye diseases can impact people 40 and older without them knowing there is any problem with their eyes. Early treatment is critically important to prevent some common eye diseases from causing permanent vision loss or blindness:

  • Cataracts (clouding of the lens), the leading cause of vision loss in the United States
  • Diabetic retinopathy (causes damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye), the leading cause of blindness in American adults
  • Glaucoma (a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve)
  • Age-related macular degeneration (gradual breakdown of light-sensitive tissue in the eye)

By age 65, one in three Americans will have a vision-impairing eye disease. The earlier these are discovered and treatment begins, the better the chance of preserving good vision. Of the estimated 61 million US adults at high risk for vision loss, only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Regular eye care can have a life-changing impact on preserving the vision of millions of people.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. American Academy of Ophthalmology

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