A recent survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, shows major gaps in American’s knowledge of eye health, and what they don’t know may hurt them.

Findings include:

  • Only 1 in 5 of those surveyed could identify the three main causes of blindness in the U.S: Glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic eye disease.
  • Just one-third of adults know that one doesn’t always experience symptoms before vision loss to eye diseases.
  • Only 47% of those surveyed were aware that vision loss and blindness doesn’t affect all people equally.
  • Less than half are aware the brain tries to make up for vision loss by adapting to diminishing vision, making it difficult to realize one is losing sight.
  • Only 1 in 4 know that vision loss in adults can be associated with psychological problems such as social isolation and depression.

“Far too often, we witness the consequences of patients entering the ophthalmologist’s office too late to avoid severe vision loss,” says Anne L. Coleman, M.D., Ph.D., president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “In 2020, we want all Americans to have a clear vision when it comes to eye health. That starts with educating yourself about eye diseases and visiting an ophthalmologist.”

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends healthy adults see an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam by age 40 and have their eyes checked every year or two at age 65 and older.

The year 2020 is the perfect time to emphasize the critical importance of understanding eye health and how we can all better protect our vision.

The survey polled 3,512 U.S. adults ages 18 and over.