According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many sight-threatening diseases, if detected early, can be cured or treated to prevent, or slow, the progression of any vision loss.

Picture of an eye chart and pair of eyeglasses

The most important preventive step is receiving routine examinations by a qualified eye care professional. Children should receive their first comprehensive eye examination before the age of three, unless a specific condition or history of family childhood vision problems warrants an earlier examination. Persons ages 20 to 40 should have an eye exam every five years, unless visual changes, pain, flashes of light, new floaters, injury, or tearing occurs. Then, immediate care is necessary. Persons without risk factors or symptoms should have a baseline eye exam at age 40. Persons 40 to 64 years old should have an eye exam every two to four years, and persons age 65 and over every one to two years.

Persons with diabetes are at risk for several eye disorders, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts, and should have eye examinations every year.

African-Americans are at greater risk for glaucoma, and should have eye examinations every three to five years before the age of 40, and every two years after age 40.

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