Of course! It seems obvious on the surface that one of the best things you can do to prevent vision loss from eye disease is to have your eyes checked regularly. Many eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy can be easily controlled if detected early enough, thereby preventing or limiting any loss of vision. It just makes sense that regular eye examinations would be the number 1 thing you could do to prevent vision loss. And yet still, it’s astounding just how few people regularly have their eyes checked.
In a study by the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, it was found that up to 25 percent of school-age children have some form of vision problem that may affect learning, but only a small percentage of children ever receive a comprehensive eye exam. With the new Eye See Eye Learn program by the Alberta Association of Optometrist, our clinic is working to change this by improving patient education and public awareness.
Even people with known eye problems aren’t getting eye exams. A study conducted at Duke University showed that only 70 to 90 percent of patients with glaucoma had a yearly check-up. Glaucoma is an eye disease that can slowly and silently cause blindness over a period of time. These patients often need to be followed at least two to three times a year. And yet a full 10 to 30 percent of them aren’t even going to the eye doctor yearly.
Similar numbers were found in patients with macular degeneration and diabetes. Only 65 to 80 percent of patients with macular degeneration have yearly eye exams and only 50 to 60 percent of patients with diabetes have them. Many of these people will very likely become legally blind from their untreated conditions. With the new medically necessary vision testing under Alberta Health Care your optometrist is able to follow these conditions (glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration) at no charge to yourself.
The evidence speaks for itself – the number one recommendation is to make sure you have your eyes examined regularly!