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Announcement: Healthy Vision Month — May 2014

May is Healthy Vision Month, a national observance to promote prevention and early detection of eye diseases to reduce avoidable vision impairment, defined as the best-corrected visual acuity less than 20/40 in the better-seeing eye (1). CDC's Vision Health Initiative partners with the National Eye Institute's National Eye Health Education Program in encouraging everyone to make vision and eye health a priority.

Early detection, timely treatment, and use of protective eyewear are the best ways to keep eyes healthy and to prevent or delay vision impairment. In 2010, approximately 4.2 million persons in the United States aged ≥40 years had vision impairment (2). Vision impairment is the third most common chronic condition among those aged ≤17 years, the ninth most common for those aged 50–64 years, and the seventh most common for persons aged ≥65 years (3,4). Vision impairment is associated with an increased risk for falls, fall-related injuries, depression, and reduced overall health and quality of life (5–7).

Many common eye diseases have no early signs; therefore, regular, comprehensive dilated eye examinations to detect and treat vision problems and eye diseases early are recommended for all persons aged ≥65 years and for younger persons with diabetes or risk factors for glaucoma (8). Additional information about activities to promote prevention, early detection, and treatment of eye diseases and vision impairment is available at http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth and http://www.nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes.

References

  1. CDC. Enhancing public health surveillance of visual impairment and eye health in the United States. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2012. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/pdf/surveillance_background.pdf.
  2. Prevent Blindness America. Vision problems in the U.S.: prevalence of adult vision impairment and age-related eye disease in America. Chicago, IL: Prevent Blindness America; 2012. Available at http://www.visionproblemsus.org/blindness/blindness-definition.html.
  3. Anderson G, Chronic care: making the case for ongoing care. Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; 2010. Available at http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/50968chronic.care.chartbook.pdf.
  4. Martin LG, Freeman VA, Schoeni RF, Andreski PM. Trends in disability and related chronic conditions among people ages fifty to sixty-four. Health Aff (Millwood) 2010:29:725–31.
  5. Li Y, Crews JE, Elam-Evans LD, et al. Visual impairment and health-related quality of life among elderly adults with age-related eye disease. Qual Life Res 2011;20:845–52.
  6. Wood JM, Lacherez P, Black AA, Cole MH, Boon MY, Kerr GK. Risk of falls, injurious falls, and other injuries resulting from visual impairment among older adults with age-related macular degeneration. Invest Opththalmol Vis Sci 2011;52:5088–92.
  7. Zhang X, Bullard KM, Cotch MF, et al. Association between depression and functional vision loss in persons 20 years of age or older in the United States, NHANES 2005–2008. JAMA Ophthalmol 2013;131:573–81.
  8. American Academy of Ophthalmology Preferred Practice Patterns Committee. Comprehensive adult medical eye evaluation. San Francisco, CA: American Academy of Ophthalmology; 2010. Available at http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=25644#section420.


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