The World Health Organization says that there are more than 2.2 billion individuals with vision impairment or blindness worldwide. Blindness or low vision affects more than 4.2 million Americans in the U.S. alone.
Another concern is that an estimated 93 million adults in the U.S. are at high risk for severe vision loss. But due to a lack of access to routine eye care services, only half of that population visits the eye doctor at least once every year to take care of their eyes or for preventative measures.
Visual impairment has become a significant health issue globally. Most cases are preventable with basic health resources such as vision care, proper use of safety eyewear, and education, which is why we are here to educate our readers on spreading awareness for regular vision screenings and blindness prevention.
What is blindness?
Having a lack of vision or the inability to see light is called blindness. To be considered legally blind, a person must have a worse vision than 20/200 with the use of glasses or contact lenses. Blindness can also describe severe vision impairment, which reduces a person’s ability to perform daily tasks without assistance.
Partial blindness or vision impairment can range from mild to severe, which means eyeglasses or contacts to medicine or surgery. Visual impairment can affect an individual’s quality of life.
Symptoms of Blindness
Sometimes, blindness can occur suddenly or become more apparent over time. There is no pain associated with most cases of blindness, but symptoms include trouble focusing, difficulty perceiving light or glare, as well as the following symptoms:
- Tunnel vision
- Inability to see shapes
- Seeing only shadows
- Poor night vision
- Cloudy vision
Most Common Causes of Visual Impairment and Blindness
The leading causes of blindness and low vision in the U.S. are primarily eye diseases. These eye diseases could be age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma. Cataracts is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
What are the risk factors for blindness?
One of the leading risk factors worldwide for blindness is the lack of access to health care resources. These resources can correct refractive errors or cataracts. With a rise in obesity in the aging population, there has also been an increase in diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. These numbers contribute to the number of individuals with eye diseases that lead to blindness.
Depending on your family history, you might have a genetic risk factor that can stem from ethnicity, gender, and lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
Depending on the cause, some conditions of blindness are curable. In other cases, vision may be restored by wearing eyeglasses, contacts, surgery, or medication.
Can blindness be prevented?
Roughly 80% of visual impairment is preventable. Get regular eye exams to help detect any eye diseases or prevent vision loss. Form healthy habits such as avoiding smoking, exercising, and maintaining proper nutrition and weight. These all play a significant role in blindness prevention or vision impairment caused by disease.
Also, it is essential to keep your eyes protected while playing sports or from chemicals or other accidents by wearing appropriate eye protection. To view our selection of safety eyewear, visit www.safevision.com.