The NHS has already been sending out Glaucoma warnings and urging people to get checked out if Glaucoma has run in their family previously and the news is frequently releasing reports and articles on how to improve eye health across the board. It seems that eye health really is becoming a major issue for today’s technology-bound generation. And now some shocking figures have been revealed by the NIH (National Institute for Health) claiming that by 2050, America’s eye health will dramatically deteriorate across the entire US population.
Blindness to Double
This terrifying report shows that visual impairment and blindness will double in numbers! With the youngest of the baby boomers reaching 65 years of age by 2029, this sets the American population up for some serious eye problems by 2050; with estimated figures of either serious visual impairment or blindness doubling to 8 million.
In addition to the increased problems with blindness in America in three decades’ time, the data also reveals that a further 16.4 million people in the US are expected to suffer from other eye disorders such as myopia (long-sightedness), hyperopia (short-sightedness), cataracts, macular degeneration or other refractive problems. These figures have been determined by the most recent census data and by studies which have been funded by the NIH’s specialist eye health department, the National Eye Institute.
The Next 35 Years for US Patients
The next 35 years will see dramatic deterioration in eye health, with approximately 21% more cases of blindness and visual impairment occurring with every single decade until 2050. Those most at risk will be 80 years and older as age will be another core risk factor for all age-related eye problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Glasses and contact lenses will become much more common too as short-sightedness and long-sightedness increase. And according to the researchers, the biggest demographic affected by future blindness are non-Hispanic caucasian females. Based on this data, there is a need for increased screening over the coming decades.
The Future of Eye Health
Whilst these figures are based on the American population, the report by the NIH and NEI give an indication of what could happen in other parts of the world, including the UK and Europe. Director of the NEI, Paul A. Sieving shares his views on their latest report:
These findings are an important forewarning of the magnitude of vision loss to come. They suggest that there is a huge opportunity for screening efforts to identify people with correctable vision problems and early signs of eye diseases. Early detection and intervention — possibly as simple as prescribing corrective lenses — could go a long way toward preventing a significant proportion of avoidable vision loss.
The bottom line here is that everyone should take extra care to look after their eyes, eat healthily and take regular eye exams. As the future for eye health is looking bleak across the world for our generation of baby boomers.