Public's awareness of eye disease needed, according to New York State survey

February 14, 2008

A survey conducted by the New York State Department of Health, with the support of the American Academy of Ophthalmology shows a need to educate the public on the risk of eye disease.

Washington, DC-A survey conducted by the New York State Department of Health, with the support of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) shows a need to educate the public on the risk of eye disease.

Data analysis of the study, conducted in 2006, was recently released and was based on a telephone survey of 4,258 people aged 40 and older.

The health-related behavior study, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, asked vision-related questions-and New York was one of the first states to include this.

Key findings of the study show that one in six adults has distance vision impairment based on their ability to recognize a friend across the street. More than one-third of New Yorkers aged 40 and older have not visited an eye-care professional in the past year.

"This survey highlights the importance of educating New Yorkers about their risk for eye disease," said Diane J. Kraus, MD, president of the New York State Ophthalmological Society. "Even though you have no symptoms of eye disease, you can still be at risk for a potentially blinding disease. It's important to have a baseline eye disease screening in order to catch diseases before they damage your vision."

As a part of the AAO's Eye Smart Campaign, it recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40.