Seeing Clearly: An Expert Opinion on Vision Today

Dr. John Berdahl, chair of EyeCare America, sounds off on disease and other threats to our vision.

Mediaplanet: What is the most important change being made in vision health care currently?

John Berdahl: Technologies for treatment of age-related eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma are improving dramatically.

MP: Are there any vision diseases that you have seen a sudden rise in?

JB: Because baby boomers are getting older, age-related eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are much more common.

MP:  What can a person do to prevent this?

JB: Many eye conditions cannot be prevented, but we can almost always prevent them from becoming debilitating. The key is to seek out excellent care and get appropriate treatment early.

MP: What is the single most important thing a person can do to protect their vision?

JB: Get regularly scheduled eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults get regular comprehensive eye exams—starting with a baseline exam at age 40—even if they have no apparent vision problems.

Some eye diseases may have no obvious symptoms in their early stages, but an eye exam can uncover the hidden signs. People 65 or older may be eligible for an eye exam at no out-of-pocket cost.

John P. Berdahl, M.D., Chair, EyeCare America Program 

Healthy vision is an important part of a quality lifestyle. Seeing the world around you is often easier with the right eyewear, including readers and prescription glasses, as well as sunglasses.

Open eyes

Since the 1940s, the Vision Council has been looking out for consumers, educating them about eye health and optical options. Their mission commitment to eye health and vision quality also encompasses new eye care technology and eyewear fashion.

Through leadership in education, advocacy and philanthropy, as well as its five consumer awareness campaigns, the council helps millions of patients learn about their vision. Those campaigns include:

  • Think about your eyes: This campaign, in which the Vision Council partners with the American Optometric Association and All About Vision, emphasizes the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams.

  • Digital eye strain: Nearly 90 percent of adults spend over two hours a day on digital devices like smart phones and tablets. That tech time of close-to-midrange screen viewing can cause eye fatigue.

  • Eyecessorize: Eyewear is more than practical. This campaign shows consumers how eyewear and sunwear can be fun and fashionable.

  • UV protection: Stressing the importance of protecting eyes from harmful UV rays with sunwear, this campaign also helps eye care professionals share the benefits of lenses with high-energy visible light protection (HEV).

  • Low vision: Between 3.5 and 5 million people in the U.S. have low vision, which is visual impairment that’s not correctable. This campaign helps people with low vision maintain their daily activities.

The International Vision Expo & Conference, a biannual global meeting and expo of leaders and visionaries in the eye care and eyewear communities, supports these programs. During the expo and conference, eye professionals can share the latest advances in eye care, patient services and eyewear tech and fashion.