Did you know aging people will cause a two-fold increase in people with vision problems by 2050? A new study has put forward this prediction.
Researchers estimated in 2015 that there are more than 12 million people in the U.S. who are suffering from some kind of vision problem. This figure, however, is expected to increase to 25 million over the next 30 years.
Led by Dr. Rohit Varma, the researchers particularly concentrated on the likelihood of baby boomers causing the increase in the number of people struggling with blindness or vision problems by 2050.
“This study gives us a GPS for our nation's future eye health,” the ophthalmology professor from Keck School of Medicine in University of Southern California (in Los Angeles) said. He added that those who were struggling with debilitating eye conditions tend to suffer physical and mental health decline.
“Our group and others have shown in previous studies that those who suffer from vision loss not only have a decreased quality of life but can also experience both physical and mental health decline, including an increased risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, depression and even death,” Dr. Varna explained.
In 2013, it is estimated that the resulting U.S. economic loss attributed to vision problems is more than $139 billion each year, Dr. Varna added.
To prevent further increase in the number of people suffering from vision problems, Dr. Varna encourages more patient education and screenings. These two factors are crucial in reducing the number of incidents of vision problems in both young and old.
Dr. Varna emphasized that regular eye exams should be undergone by people aged 40 and older. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma are crucial to a better quality of life. Routine eye screening is also critical to updating eyeglass prescriptions.
“The earlier we can diagnose and treat potentially blinding eye diseases, the greater the likelihood that more people will have the chance to live longer lives without the physical limitations and emotional challenges of vision loss,” Dr. Varna said.
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