World Health Day: My Vision, My Right

World Health Day is observed each year on April 7th to bring awareness to global health concerns. This year’s theme is all about individual rights to healthcare. While most countries define health as a constitutional right, essential healthcare still remains out of reach for billions worldwide. Additional challenges like environmental factors, education, and housing can further the divide between people and necessary healthcare. Even in affluent communities, accessing health services can be stifled by factors such as lack of awareness or insurance coverage.

This World Health Day, we are encouraging everyone to rise above those challenges and claim your right to quality vision care by scheduling an eye appointment this April.

Why Vision Care Is So Important

Even if you have perfect vision, there are many reasons why everyone should experience an eye exam. According to the CDC, roughly 93 million Americans are at risk for vision loss, yet only half have visited an eye doctor in the past year! Here are two major reasons why you should schedule your eye exam today:

  • Many ocular diseases exhibit little to no warning signs. A dilated eye exam can detect a range of visual and general health concerns before they begin to affect your vision. Once diagnosed, your eye doctor can help safeguard your vision and improve your overall health.
  • Early intervention and treatment can save your vision. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness states that 90% of vision loss can be prevented or treated. And it all starts with a routine eye exam!

Eye disorders and ocular disease can affect anyone, regardless of seeing ability, status, or family history. And if left untreated, many ocular conditions can result in vision loss or blindness. Let’s examine some of the most common ocular diseases and disorders affecting the globe today.

The Most Common Ocular Conditions Worldwide

Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia are among some of the most common ocular disorders present. This includes difficulty seeing objects up close, far away, or general blurriness. Refractive errors can often be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, and vision correction surgery such as LASIK.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (or AMD) is an age-related ocular disease and leading cause of visual impairment for older adults. AMD causes damage to the macula, or the central part of the retina, which impacts central vision. Central vision is required for seeing fine details and seeing objects clearly for daily tasks like driving or reading. Symptoms of AMD often go unnoticed, progress very slowly, and cases are expected to increase over time.

Cataracts is another leading cause of vision problems in older adults and the leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Cataracts causes cloudy, blurred vision, as well as light sensitivity and a general dimming of colors. Many describe it as looking through a foggy window. Cataracts is a natural part of the aging process, yet it can occur at any age due to various causes.

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and the number one cause of preventable blindness in working adults. Continuously high blood sugar levels can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye which are essential for clear, healthy vision. Even if blood sugar levels are well maintained, diabetics have unique vision care needs and are at a much higher risk of developing vision problems.

Glaucoma can also cause vision loss and blindness if left untreated. Glaucoma is associated with increased fluid pressure within the eye and resulting damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma tends to be more common among African Americans and those with a family history of the disease.

Amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye,” is considered the most common visual impairment in children. Amblyopia occurs when the eyes and the brain are not working together properly, resulting in reduced vision to one eye. This condition can persist into adulthood if left untreated and lead to permanent visual impairment.

Strabismus is defined as eye misalignment and occurs when one eye drifts up, down, or away while the other eye is focused on something. This can occur in both children and adults. Strabismus can result in decreased depth perception, double vision, trouble focusing, or amblyopia.

Overcoming Challenges Associated With Healthcare Access

Wilmington Eye is on a continuous mission to meet the growing needs of the communities we serve. That is why we offer the full spectrum of vision care for all stages of life from infancy to adulthood. Below are some of the ways we strive to meet the challenges associated with healthcare access.

  • Proximity is a factor we are continuously working to improve. Our services can be accessed at six Wilmington Eye offices spanning from Wilmington to Leland and even further into Southport and Carolina Shores. Our providers also travel to hospitals and medical practices in Jacksonville, Whiteville, Burgaw, and Elizabethtown.
  • Affordability is an undeniable stopping point for many when it comes to accessing essential health services. There are many affordability solutions described on our Financing & Self Pay page. It can also be helpful to check with your employer to ensure you are taking advantage of any benefits available to you such as insurance coverage and HSA/FSA options.
  • Transportation remains a challenge for many seeking vision care. If lack of transportation is holding you back, consider scheduling your next appointment at one of our offices located near a bus stop, such as our New Hanover Medical Park Drive or our Mayfaire office. Affordable ride share options are also available to areas like Pender and Brunswick Counties. All bus routes and ride share options can be found on the Wave Transit website.
  • Scheduling impacts almost everyone. It can be difficult to interrupt your regularly scheduled life for an eye appointment. That is why we offer Saturday appointments at our New Hanover Medical Park Drive office for those unable to visit us during the week.

It is our goal to continue offering solutions which expand access to specialty vision care, and we hope to serve even more areas in the future.

Claim Your Right to Essential Vision Care

Join us in observing World Health Day and schedule your eye appointment this April to ensure your health and vision remains in optimal shape. Our team of extensively trained optometrists are here to provide the highest standard of eye care and to help you see your very best!