According to ‘Barometer of Global Eye Health’ a survey released by Bausch + Lomb, suppliers of eye health products that surveyed 11,000 consumers, almost 70 per cent of those polled — if forced to choose —would rather lose their sense of taste (79%), hearing (78%), give up 10 years of their life, or sacrifice one of their limbs, than lose their eyesight.
According to experts quoted in the poll, the results of which were published last week, 80 per cent of visual impairment is preventable, if detected and treated early. However, not many are aware that eye health can be an indicator of overall health, as well. Four in ten or 39 per cent of those polled said that they thought: “The only reason to visit an eye doctor is for vision corrections.”
While going for regular eye check-ups can prove beneficial to one’s vision by avoiding eye disease such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, it can also provide early detection of other serious diseases, including diabetes, high-cholesterol and hypertension. This is because the health of a person’s veins and arteries can be seen in the eye. The poll surveyed people from countries including India, China, Russia, Italy, the UK and the US. While three-fourths of those polled agreed that they would rather have their pay cut in half than have a permanent 50% decline in the quality of their vision, only 21% said that they had regular eye exams over the past five years.
42% said that they believed that “If I can see, then my eyes must be healthy” while 44% agreed that they didn’t need an eye test unless they experienced a problem with their eyes. Women were more likely than men to take steps to protect their vision, such as wearing sunglasses (81% vs 77%), eating a healthy diet (82% vs 75%) and refraining from smoking (79% vs 73%). Married people were also more likely than singles to have had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year (46% married vs 38% single).
Types of eye disease
Cataracts are defined as any opacity and cloudiness that develops in the crystalline lens of the eyes. They are formed within the eye, causing the eye lens to cloud, resulting in hazy images. Cataracts are one of the major causes of visual loss among adults who are over the age of 55. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness.
Key results of the poll
>> If forced to choose, people would rather lose their sense of hearing (78%), one of their limbs (68%) or 10 years of their life (67%) instead of their eyesight.
>> Three-fourths would rather have their pay cut in half than have a permanent 50% decline in the quality of vision.
>> Only 21% had regular eye exams in the past five years.
>> Women were more likely than men to take steps to protect their vision, such as wearing sunglasses (81% vs 77%), eating a healthy diet (82% vs 75%) and refraining from smoking (79% vs 73%).
>> Married people were more likely than singles to have had a comprehensive eye exam in the past year (46% married vs. 38% single).
>> For those who did not have regular eye exams, 65% said they had not visited an eye doctor, because they did not have any symptoms and 60% because they had clear vision, dangerous reasoning since many eye diseases occur without any noticeable signs to the patient.
>> Less than one third take the basic steps necessary to preserve eye sight.
>> 94% of eye health professionals said women took better care of their eyes than men.