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Research to Prevent Blindness

Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health

JAMA Ophthalmology Paper: Attitudes about Eye Health

JAMA Ophthalmology recently published a paper, Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health, which shows that Americans feared losing eyesight more than any other sense, and were just as scared of going blind as they were of getting Alzheimer's disease, cancer or HIV/AIDS. The peer-reviewed paper, published online last week, reflects the results from a national survey in September 2014 — commissioned by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) in partnership with Research!America (and with Zogby Analytics) and supported by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness.

Across racial groups, blindness was selected as either the worst or second worst event that could happen relative to other diseases. Fear of blindness was widespread, but knowledge about specific eye diseases uneven. Over half of all ethnic groups (i.e., Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, African American, and Asian American) surveyed had heard of cataracts and glaucoma but fewer knew about diabetic eye disease and aging macular degeneration.

"Vision loss is critically important to Americans, and we must continue to educate and advocate for research to prevent and treat blindness, especially given the rapid increase in at‐risk populations of older adults, persons with chronic diseases, and minority groups who disproportionately experience eye disease," said coauthor James Jorkasky, Executive Director of AEVR and the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research.

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