The Vision Council Educates on Low Vision as Growing Public Health Issue

The Vision Council Educates on Low Vision as Growing Public Health Issue

New report reveals millions of Americans struggle with condition

ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 3, 2015) – The Vision Council has announced the release of its latest report, Vision Loss in America: Aging and Low Vision, providing an in-depth look at the epidemic and illustrating the pervasive impact eye disorders can have on health and well-being. The report reveals that more than 39 million Americans suffer from severe vision impairment or a disorder that compromises ocular health with the prevalence expected to rise to 63 million people within the next 15 years.

"There are millions of Americans dealing with low vision disorders –including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy – but only about 20% of adults with severe vision impairment use devices that could help maintain activities of daily living," said Mike Daley, CEO of The Vision Council. "Many of these cases lead to an increased risk of falls, mental health issues and social isolation – much of which could be deterred with the proper treatment".

Social stigma and lack of awareness of progressive eye diseases create barriers to adequately addressing low vision, defined as visual impairments that are not correctable through surgery, pharmaceuticals, glasses, or contact lenses. It is estimated that these impairments cost $68 billion annually in direct health care costs, lost productivity and diminished quality of life.

"Most people think that deteriorating vision is something they need to accept as a part of aging. Treatments and low vision aids are available to help individuals take control of this health issue and improve their overall quality of life with progressive eye diseases," said Thomas I. Porter, OD, low vision specialist and medical adviser to The Vision Council.

In addition to this report, The Vision Council educates consumers and caregivers in the low vision community through www.WhatIsLowVision.org, a dedicated online resource for people with vision impairment due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and other eye conditions. The Vision Council has also partnered with AARP to engage the organization's influential, active, and affluent audience, promoting this online low vision resource in an effort to educate both aging adults and their caregivers (often children) on aging eye diseases, symptoms, and low vision device solutions.

Regular comprehensive eye exams can help diagnose emerging vision problems before vision loss is noticeable. In addition to accurately diagnosing low vision, a low-vision specialist can suggest tools and devices, such as magnifiers, telescopic eyewear and talking book players, to help those with low vision maintain their independence for as long as possible.

To learn more about The Vision Council's efforts to educate consumers on Low Vision, and to access the report, visit http://www.thevisioncouncil.org/members/low-vision-outreach.

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.