EYE HEALTH CONCERNS ARE ON THE RISE IN THE U.S.1 CHANGES IN OUR LIFESTYLES ARE THE MOST LIKELY CAUSES AS EYE CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO AFFECT YOUNGER PATIENTS.
Diabetes is a disease that's rapidly on the increase in the Bronx,3 and may lead to eye health problems such as diabetic retinopathy and macular edema. Children as young as 6 have been diagnosed with serious diabetic eye issues.
Increased use of digital screens is also causing vision problems in both children and adults.
Diabetic eye issues
- Poor diet and inactivity in young people has caused a diabetes epidemic in the Bronx.
- In some districts of the Bronx, up to 14% of the adult population has been diagnosed with the disease, according to a survey by the New York City Department of Health.
- A recent study by the University of Michigan revealed a concerning trend in eye health problems for diabetic patients under the age of 21.7 In the study of 4,000 youths under 21, 1 in 5 with type 1 diabetes, and 7% with type 2 diabetes, had been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
- Although it cannot be reversed, in its early stages diabetic retinopathy can be slowed substantially with good blood sugar control.
- Ophthalmology physicians can determine whether you have the more advanced version of the disease, also known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema (DME).
- Up to 7% of people with diabetes may have diabetic macular edema.
- Macular edema requires the immediate attention of an eye surgeon to prevent blindness.
- Depending on each case, your ophthalmologist might recommend laser treatment, surgery performed under general anesthesia, or injections to save your vision.
- Even after surgical treatment, you'll need regular eye examinations from an eye doctor or specialist ophthalmologist.
Computer vision syndrome (CVS)
- The American workplace has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Now, for many of us, work means staring at a computer screen for hours at a time. This puts a tremendous strain on our eyes.
- Computer vision syndrome is very similar to repetitive strain injury. Our eyes follow the same patterns throughout the day. We continually shift our focus between the screen and the keyboard. Our eyes track repeatedly across the screen as we read.
- Research shows that 50%-90% of people who work on a computer have symptoms of CVS.
- Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, neck or back pain, and dry or irritated eyes.
- CVS also affects kids who use computers or tablets during the school day. In schools, it's harder to cater to each child's needs to maintain a healthy posture while working on a computer.
- The problem is worsened by not wearing the correct prescription glasses or lenses.
- Visit your ophthalmologist or optician regularly to make sure you have an up-to-date prescription.
- Consider making a plan for vision care. Ophthalmology websites give good advice for how to set up your workspace to prevent CVS.
Age-related eye problems
- Presbyopia is a condition that makes focusing on close objects more difficult. It is a normal part of the aging process that happens slowly over time, usually beginning around age 40.
- Cataracts are cloudy patches in our vision.
- Almost half of U.S. residents over the age of 75 have cataracts.
- They cause no pain and in mild cases don't affect vision significantly.
- If they become thick and substantially affect vision, they can almost always be removed safely with surgery.
- Eye surgeons routinely perform cataract surgery.
- Glaucoma, left untreated, can lead to permanent vision loss or total blindness.
- It has been estimated that in 2020, 3.36 million people in the U.S. over 40 will have glaucoma.
- It is primarily a hereditary disease affecting the pressure in your eye. If you have a relative who has been diagnosed with glaucoma, you'll need to be particularly vigilant and step up your ophthalmology care with regular visits to your optician.
HERE AT PARKCHESTER MEDICAL
When your vision in seriously impaired, it can be very scary. We rely on our vision to connect with the world around us.
Our ophthalmologist provides both general and subspecialty eye care. Prevention and preservation are key for eye health, since so many conditions are affected by aging. Through regular eye exams and optometric exams, we aim to detect any issues in their early stages.
Don't take your vision for granted. If you are suffering from symptoms such as blurred- or double-vision with headaches, dry or irritated eyes, or any eye pain of any kind, make an appointment with our ophthalmologist.