Research carried out by independent researchers funded by Transitions Optical shows that most Americans are not taking steps to protect their eyes, and few fully understand the effects of UV exposure on their eyes. Many ethnic groups, such as Asian Americans and Hispanics, showed lower awareness of eye health risks and the steps to take to prevent them. These groups are also at higher risk for other serious health problems that can affect long-term vision.
Of the surveyed adults, less than 40% reported seeing an eye doctor and receiving an eye exam in the past year. Eye exams catch the warning signs of serious problems like glaucoma and cataracts early when treatment is possible. Children also need yearly eye exams to ensure their eyes are developing properly and that their vision doesn’t need correction. Children often struggle in school when they need glasses but are unaware that they have eyesight problems.
Hispanics and Asian Americans showed the lowest rates of scheduling eye exams for children. Hispanics and African Americans are also at higher risk for eye-affecting diseases like hypertension and diabetes. These diseases often display early warning signs through the eyes and an annual eye check-up can catch chronic conditions early as well. Hispanics show a higher rate of glaucoma, macular degeneration and pterygia. These increased risks indicate that they need annual eye exams even more than other ethnic groups.
2 of 3 survey respondents weren’t aware that their ethnic background affected their chances for developing a serious vision problem. Hispanics and African Americans were less likely to purchase eyewear with UV protection, and had lower rates of understanding about the damage UV rays do to the eyes. UV damage occurs year round and lowers contrast and light sensitivity.