Hispanic Vision Facts
This sponsored post is published in partnership with the American Refractive Surgery Council. All opinions are my own.
One thing is clear: research suggests that the Latino community faces unique challenges when it comes to our vision health. According to studies published in recent years, Latinos develop incidence of vision problems ranging from cataracts to vision loss to glaucoma at different, sometimes higher, rates than non-Hispanic whites. Considering all our eyes do for us, these new findings could be cause for alarm. Instead, I’m considering them a call to action.
Many Americans, Hispanic and otherwise, aren’t up to date on their visual health. Never be afraid to have an open and honest conversation with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Not only is this key to fully understanding whether or not you are facing vision changes, but it’s also the first step to finding out your options to improving your sight. As I’ve mentioned before, 2017 is my year to get my eye health back on track. For me, that means a trip to the ophthalmologist and a frank discussion about my surgical options, including LASIK.
As someone with both nearsightedness and cataracts, my vision impairments are multi-faceted. And, I’m not alone. Many Latinos are also dealing with vision issues – sometimes more than one at the same time. The good news is that we don’t have to resign ourselves to dealing with worsening vision and stronger prescriptions as time goes on. Take a look at some of the issues facing our community and options that can help.
Simply stated, a cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye, meaning that the lens through which we see is no longer clear. Among Latinos, research suggests that cataracts are more likely to develop in the center of the lens instead of around the edges. While cataracts are likely to develop later in life, they can appear at any phase, including at birth, which is my case. When it comes to seeing clearly, a cataract is certainly an obstacle.
If you have cataracts in one or both eyes and are weighing your options, it’s critical to have a discussion with your doctor. He or she may suggest cataract removal surgery that replaces the clouded lens with special vision-correcting lenses called IOLs. I’m excited that this is a possibility.
Research has revealed that Hispanic youth suffer from higher instances of astigmatism – irregular curvature of the cornea leading to blurred vision – than their peers in other ethnic groups. If left untreated over time, astigmatism can cause vision to worsen.
Luckily, astigmatism is one of the several types of vision problems that LASIK can correct. LASIK reshapes and smoothes the cornea allowing for crisper focus. Vision correction surgery becomes an option once candidates reach adulthood, the eye is fully matured and the prescription stabilizes for more than a year.
More research into Hispanic vision health has revealed that vision problems begin to rise after 40 years of age, and that among older Hispanics, the incidence of problems are higher. In my family, almost all of the older generation needs glasses, contacts or other vision correctors.
LASIK and other vision correction procedures, such as PRK, can treat some age-related issues and leave eyes seeing more clearly than they have in years.
Other Issues? Ask Your Doctor
Of course, these aren’t the only issues facing the Hispanic community. Diabetes-related vision issues, such as diabetic retinopathy, also occur within our community. If this or any one or combination of issues interferes with your daily life, talk to your doctor and begin the journey to better sight.