Health and Fitness

Ophthalmologists urge America to get eye exams

The American Academy of Ophthalmology and EyeCare America, a public-service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, urge all Americans to make regular dilated eye exams a part of their health routine during Healthy Vision Month.
Observed each year during the month of May, Healthy Vision Month is an annual campaign to educate the public about ways to make their healthy vision last a lifetime. In addition to routine eye exams, healthy habits – such as a nutritious diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and wearing sunglasses – can help prevent eye disease and vision loss.
There are seldom any warning signs or symptoms during the early stages of serious eye diseases like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. However, it is in the early stages of disease that treatments can most effectively prevent blindness. The only way to catch many eye diseases early is through routine screening.
“Most Americans understand the importance of regular dental visits or cancer screenings, but often forget about their eye health until they notice a problem,” said Stephanie Marioneaux, M.D., clinical correspondent for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Too often, this costs patients their vision. A dilated eye exam is the only way to catch eye disease early so that preventive measures can be taken to save sight.”
By age 65, the Academy recommends eye exams every one to two years, or as directed by an ophthalmologist. Many within this population may actually qualify for free or no out-of-pocket cost eye exams and treatment through EyeCare America, which ensures that qualifying Americans age 65 and older have access to the eye care they need. It is the largest public-service program in American medicine, having served more than 1.7 million patients since its inception in 1985.