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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I do anything about my chances for vision loss?
It is estimated that half of visual impairment and
blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and timely treatment.
Despite cost-effective treatment and eye preservation interventions,
the number of potentially blinding eye diseases continues to escalate.
Increased awareness can help — remind family members and friends at
higher risk for eye diseases and vision loss to have their eyes examined
2. What are the major causes of vision loss for individuals aged 40 years and older?
The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment
increases with age in all racial and ethnic groups. The major eye
diseases among people 40 years and older are age-gelated macular
degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
3. What should I know about diabetic retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness
among working-age (ages 20–74) Americans. It is caused by changes in the
blood vessels of the retina. Efficacious and cost-effective
interventions to detect and treat diabetic retinopathy are available.
Individuals with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam each year, but
only about two thirds receive the recommended exam. Moreover, good
management of diabetes by good glucose, blood pressure, and lipid
control can reduce the progression of diabetic retinopathy. People at
risk for diabetes should modify their lifestyle to delay or prevent
diabetes by good diet and physical activity.
4. What should I know about cataracts?
Cataracts are a major cause of vision loss. Among Americans
aged 40 years and older, 20.5 million, have cataracts. Cataract removal
surgery can restore vision, and this surgery is highly cost-effective;
however, among African Americans, unoperated senile cataracts remain a
major cause of blindness. Some possible risk factors other than age
could be diabetes, smoking, and prolonged exposure to sunlight.
5. What should I know about age-related macular degeneration?
About 1,600,00 Americans aged 50 years and older have
AMD. Treatment with zinc and antioxidants has been shown to reduce the
risk and progression to advanced AMD among people aged 50 years and
older. The greatest risk factor is age; however, other risk factors
include, smoking, obesity, family history, race (white), and gender
(female). Eating healthy diet, exercising, and avoiding smoking can
reduce the risk of AMD.
6. What should I know about glaucoma?
Glaucoma can be controlled and vision loss stopped by early
detection and timely treatment. Nevertheless, half of all people with
glaucoma are not diagnosed and glaucoma is still the number-one blinding
disease among African Americans. People who are at risk for glaucoma
are African Americans aged 40 years and older, everyone older than age
60, especially Mexican Americans, and people with a family history of
glaucoma. People falling in these groups should have a dilated eye exam
every two years by an eye care professional.
7. What should I know about amblyopia or lazy eye?
Amblyopia is the most common cause of vision
loss among children. It affects 2 to 3 out of 100 children. If it is not
treated timely and properly, it can stay through adulthood. It is a
very common cause of vision loss in one eye among children and young