Vision and eye health enable many aspects of daily living no matter where you live and work, your age, racial and ethnic background, or socio-economic circumstances. Attention to vision and eye health is critical at all stages in life: from early in life as a part of healthy childhood development and learning readiness, for adults in their working years, and for older adults to maintain independence and a high quality of life through their aging years. With healthy vision, we can engage with the world around us, learn in school, earn a living, and age independently with a high quality of life.
Vision and eye health, however, is often an afterthought until a patient notices changes to his or her eyesight, and any damaged vision is irreversible—an unfortunate occurrence when most vision loss and eye disease can be prevented through early detection and timely, appropriate intervention and treatment. With the most serious eye diseases and conditions, any lost vision is typically permanent. Despite this high rate of preventability, by 2050, incidence of diabetes-related eye disease, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and vision impairment and blindness will face drastic increases as our population ages, as chronic disease rates increase, as access to care decreases, and health care costs rise – unless interventions are made today to elevate vision and eye health as an imperative aspect of health and well-being for all.