A national survey commissioned by Australia’s peak body for eye health and vision care, Vision 2020 Australia, reveals that going blind is one of the greatest fears people have about ageing.
The aim of the telephone survey of 1200 respondents was to provide a greater understanding of people’s fears as they age and to assess their level of knowledge in protecting their eyesight. The study found that going blind was a frightening concept for people. Getting dementia, losing a partner and going blind were listed as the top three issues people most feared as they grow older.
About 500,000 Australians are affected by vision impairment or blindness and this number is expected to double over the next 20 years unless people are pro-active about saving their sight.
Older Australians did understand that getting regular eye tests was critical to save sight as we age. However, younger age groups were most likely to believe old myths about sight which highlights the need for increasing awareness of the need to get your eyes tested regularly especially with younger age groups.
The key findings were:
• Getting dementia (34.3 per cent), losing a partner (29.5 per cent) and going blind (16.8 per cent) are among what Australians fear most about ageing.
• Those who most fear going blind are over 50 years of age (21.5 per cent).
• More than three quarters (77.6 per cent) of respondents correctly identified regular eye testing as the best thing to do to maintain healthy eyesight as they age.
• Only about half of respondents (51.7 per cent) 25 years and under were aware that regular eye testing is the best thing to do to maintain healthy eyesight. Many of the younger age groups believed incorrectly that myths such as not sitting too close to a TV or computer or having good light when you read could save their sight.