Good Vision and Eye Health Rated High Priority by U.S. Adults

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Good Vision and Eye Health Rated High Priority by U.S. Adults
Good Vision and Eye Health Rated High Priority by U.S. Adults

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Although vision health is a high priority, many U.S. adults are unaware of important eye diseases and their risk factors, according to research published online Aug. 4 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Adrienne W. Scott, M.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the importance and awareness of eye health across racial and ethnic groups using an online nationwide poll of the U.S. population. The survey population comprised 2,044 U.S. adults, including non-Hispanic white individuals and minority groups.

The researchers found that 63 percent of respondents reported wearing glasses. Overall, 87.5 percent of respondents believed that good vision was vital to overall health, while 47.4 percent ranked losing vision as the worse health outcome. Losing vision was rated as equal to or worse than losing hearing, memory, speech, or a limb. Quality of life and loss of independence were ranked as the top concerns in terms of consequences of vision loss. Some respondents were aware of cataracts and glaucoma (65.8 and 63.4 percent, respectively), macular degeneration (half of respondents), and diabetic retinopathy (37.3 percent). Twenty-five percent of respondents were not aware of any eye conditions. Overall, 75.8 and 58.3 percent of respondents identified sunlight and family heritage, respectively, as risk factors for losing vision, while half were aware of smoking as a risk factor.

"Many Americans were unaware of important eye diseases and their behavioral or familial risk factors," the authors write.

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