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What's Your Vision "Eye-Q?"

What’s Your Vision “Eye-Q?”

According to a survey done by the American Optometric Association, the first American Eye-Q ™ parents lack important knowledge about eye health and vision care for their children and themselves.

Want to see how you do against the original participants in the survey? Answer these questions, True or False:

  1. Children with no complaints about their vision don’t really need an eye exam.
  2. Behavioral problems have nothing to do with vision.
  3. No one needs an eye exam until they are at least ten years of age.
  4. Adults who see well need an eye exam only about once every ten years.
  5. Systemic diseases and conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes don’t affect vision and can’t be detected by an eye doctor anyway.
  6. Sitting too close to the TV screen or reading under dim light will ruin your vision.
  7. Lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine can be harmful to the eyes.
  8. Nutrition is important to both children and adults to maintain good eye health.
  9. Eating carrots is the best thing you can do for your vision.
  10. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of functional blindness in adults.

Well, these statements may seem pretty obvious. Questions 7, 8 and 10 are true; the others are false.

Almost 45% of adults don’t know that millions of children have vision problems that can inhibit their ability to learn, and a child with behavioral problems often have an underlying vision problem.

The American Optometric Association recommends yearly vision examinations for children, and children should have their eyes examined by the age of three. Because children think everyone sees like they do, they often do not complain that they can’t see; they won’t know if their eyes don’t work together as a team, either, which can make it very difficult for them to learn. Often, vision problems go unrecognized because only one in ten parents actually follows these guidelines to get their children’s vision tested early.

According to Andrea Thau, O.D., of the AOA, “One of the most important things parents can do to help ensure their child’s ability to learn is to take them for a comprehensive eye exam.” Since vision changes can occur without a parent or a child noticing them, children should visit an optometrist at least every two years, or more frequently if indicated by the results of the first one.

While most Americans believe that their vision is the most important of their senses, more than 60% of them who do not currently wear glasses or contact lenses have not been to an eye care practitioner in the past two years, and nearly 20% of them have never been to an eye doctor at all.

“Just like a child, an adult’s eyesight can change rapidly and frequently, particularly in older adults,” said Dr. Thau. “When you consider how many systemic diseases and disorders can be detected, it is imperative that adults visit their optometrist as often as their children.”

More than 60% of adults in the survey did know that diabetes and hypertension are detectable through comprehensive eye exams, but only 23% were aware that the symptoms of multiple sclerosis also can be detected through such an exam.

Sitting too close to a TV set and reading in dim light may cause headaches and tired eyes, but neither of these activities will permanently harm the vision. However, smoking, drinking alcohol and consuming caffeine to excess can all be harmful to the eyes, leading to such things as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Seventy percent of Americans believe that carrots are the best food for eye health; while carrots do contain nutrients and are good for the entire body, eating only half a cup of cooked spinach four to seven times a week can help prevent macular degeneration. It would take four pounds of carrots or 17 heads of iceberg lettuce to meet the same nutrition goal.

An old saying says that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but in this case, what you don’t know can certainly be harmful. If you haven’t seen your eyecare practitioner within the last two years, it’s high time you did; make your appointment as soon as possible, and don’t forget to make one for your child as well.

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