Seniors age 65 and older are at the greatest risk for eye disease and vision loss, and because diseases like AMD and glaucoma often have no early symptoms, comprehensive eye exams are especially important.
EyeCare America, a program of The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides care at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible seniors age 65 and older through its corps of volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
EyeCare America is designed for people who:
- Are U.S. citizens or legal residents;
- Are age 65 and older;
- Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years; and,
- Do not receive eye care through an HMO or the VA.
To see if you or a loved one age 65 or older is eligible, visit www.eyecareamerica.org.
Top Five Tips To Save Your Vision
For more than 4.2 million Americans living with serious vision loss or blindness, vision challenges make it difficult to enjoy life’s simple pleasures such as reading, playing cards or watching grandchildren grow. Vision loss can also make it difficult to live independently, work or drive. That’s why it is so important to prevent eye disease and vision loss whenever possible.
Often, preventive care and lifestyle choices can help keep your vision healthy. Ophthalmologists – eye physicians and surgeons – encourage seniors to follow these top five tips to safeguard vision:
- Get an eye exam. To protect healthy vision, seniors age 65 and older should have a dilated eye exam every 1-2 years, or as recommended by their ophthalmologist. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to find out if you or a loved one qualifies for an eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost with one of EyeCare America’s volunteer ophthalmologists.
- Know your family history. Eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma can run in families, so it’s important to know your family's history of eye disease and talk to your ophthalmologist about any possible genetic risk factors.
- Don't smoke. Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including cataracts and AMD. Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked.
- Eat right. A variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are an important part of an eye-healthy diet. Researchers have found people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD. For delicious recipes that incorporate these essential nutrients, EyeCare America offers a free, downloadable cookbook, called Feast Your Eyes on This.
- Protect your eyes from injuries. An estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year, so it is critical to wear proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries, especially during home projects like gardening and cleaning. Eye injuries can also be prevented by securing loose rugs, railings or other hazards that could cause falls or slips.
EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon. The program is endorsed by state and subspecialty ophthalmological societies.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology provided this information.