(BPT) - Watching a sunset in all its glory. Looking over at your children around the dinner table. Staring into a loved one's eyes. The sense of sight plays such an important role throughout your life. Making eye health a priority helps ensure your sight enhances your unique experiences for many years to come.
People put a high value on their sight. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people fear losing their sight over their other senses, according to the J&J Vision Global Eye Health Survey. Sight impacts not only what you see in the present, but also what you remember. The Discovery Eye Foundation says 80% of your memories are determined by what you see.
While sight is valued, it’s not always prioritized when it comes to health and wellness. Globally, 88% of people view eye health maintenance as a priority for their overall health, according to the survey, yet only 52% of respondents say they get annual eye exams. An easy way to find a qualified eye care professional in your area is the Find an Eye Doctor tool at PrioritizeYourEyes.com/EyeExam.
The simple, proactive step of scheduling an eye exam not only for yourself, but for school aged children, and encouraging seniors to do the same, helps promote the health of your eyes while protecting your vision for the future. Starting eye exams during childhood can lead to early detection of eye conditions and diseases that can be treated early on so you can take proper measures to prevent progression.
While an eye exam is critical for maintaining eye health, many people don’t realize this important preventative appointment checks for many other things as well. An eye exam can detect more than 270 medical conditions, and eye doctors can check for early warning signs of things like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and dyslexia.
"Changing the trajectory of eye health starts with encouraging people to take the single most important step in eye health — getting their annual comprehensive eye exams,” said Carol Alexander, O.D., FAAO and Head of North America Professional Relations, J&J Vision. “With our Prioritize Your Eyes campaign and J&J Vision global eye health survey, our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of getting back to your eye care professional routinely — to support both your vision and your overall health. Don’t wait.”
In addition to seeing an eye doctor for an annual exam, Dr. Alexander reveals common barriers to seeking eye care that once identified, are easier to overcome:
Cataract surgery demystified: Cataract surgery is outpatient, often takes less than 10 minutes, and almost 75% of people would have gotten it sooner if they knew how much better their vision would be, according to the survey.
Concerns about aging: For those with aging eyes, three in 10 (29%) worry wearing glasses will make them look old or impacts their self-confidence (30%), yet only 37% know contact lenses are available as an alternative to multifocal glasses as they age. People don’t realize they don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics to improve their vision.
Pandemic hesitancy: While many eye care professionals saw in-office visits decline due to global restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, offices are open again and the time is now to prioritize your eye health.
Be more than a statistic: Approximately half of the world’s population is projected to be myopic (nearsighted) by 2050 with nearly one billion people expected to have the more severe “high myopia,” which can be addressed today through various vision correction options.
"Taking the time to book your annual eye exam allows you to have ongoing conversations with an eye doctor about your eye health, your overall health, and the many options available to you be it one-time corrective procedures, contact lenses or at-home eye exercises,” said Dr. Alexander. “By playing an active role, you can help ensure your vision continues to be a sense that brings depth and joy to your life for many years to come."