Thousands of Australians are Losing their Vision

eye checkup

More than half a million Australians are visually impaired or blind. Australians over the age of 65 account for over 70 percent of individuals with vision problems as well as 15 percent with actual blindness. However, most of these cases are preventable and can still be treated.

The Ramifications of Losing One’s Vision

Your vision is your most important sense when it comes to interacting with the outside world. It allows you to navigate through obstacles and function with relative independence. Losing any of your other senses would not have the same impact as losing your vision, especially when it comes to being able to function on your own. Vision-loss affects your overall mobility; moving around becomes problematic, not to mention driving a vehicle. The lack of visual stimuli exposes you to more dangers and increases your chances of injury. Every step becomes less sure, and every obstacle becomes a hazard. Losing your vision also means losing access to digital technology — whether it’s on your phone, tablet, or computer. A loss in vision will impact Even your access to entertainment. Movies and television shows can have subtitles for the deaf, but there are no comparable measures for the blind.

Aging and the Eyes

aging eyes

Unlike traumatic eye injury — which can easily be prevented by wearing eye protection or safety glasses — vision-loss due to aging is a lot more complicated. Aging makes it more likely for your eyes to have refracting errors, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Being retired, those over the age of 65 don’t take vision-loss as seriously and may delay or forgo the necessary treatment to correct or minimize their vision-loss. Refracting errors and cataracts get progressively worse without treatment. Diabetes-related vision problems and chronic exposure to UV also factors that primarily affect those over 65.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Refraction errors and cataracts can be treated. There are still no treatments available for macular degeneration, but there are ways to minimize your risk of developing it or at least delay its onset.

1. Stop smoking or better yet, don’t start at all. Smoking increases your risk of developing AMD by as much as 500 percent.

2. Wear shades. Chronic exposure to UV radiation can also have adverse effects on your eyes, and Australia is one of the worst places when it comes to UV radiation.

3. Watch your Diet. Obesity leads to a slew of problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. A BMI of over 30 or a high concentration of fat in your body makes you 2.5 times more likely to lose your sight to AMD.

4. Exercise. The cells in your macula degenerate and die if your retinas receive too little oxygen. Exercise improves your blood flow, allowing rich oxygen to flow through your body.

More and more Australians are losing their vision, but the majority of those suffering from vision-loss can still be treated. Don’t wait until you can’t see the words that you’re reading right now. Have yourself checked and get the right treatment for your eyes.