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American Optometric Association Supports New Federal Health Report Findings: Vision Screening Methods for Seniors are Lacking
Date:7/8/2009

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) indicates that vision screenings, using standard methods of assessing visual acuity in older adults, a practice common in the primary care setting, is insufficient for use as a secondary prevention or screening method. The American Optometric Association (AOA) highlights the significance of the report as an important, evidence-based analysis that health care providers and aging Americans should carefully consider.

"The AHRQ findings support the importance of regular comprehensive eye examinations in older adults and highlight the importance of AOA's clinical care guidelines for older adults that stipulate the need for annual eye examinations in all adults age 61 or older," said Michael R. Duenas, O.D., associate director of health sciences and policy at the AOA.

In addition, the AHRQ report found that screening for age-related eye diseases, many of which are asymptomatic in their early treatable stages, requires specialized examinations and equipment available through an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

"With the prevalence of adult vision impairment and age-related eye disease in America expected to double by 2030, the AHRQ findings offer a clear and distinct reason for all older adults to have a comprehensive eye examination on a regular basis," said Randolph E. Brooks, O.D., president of the AOA.

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least half of all blindness can be prevented through timely diagnosis and treatment. Furthermore, the CDC together with Prevent Blindness America (PBA) report that the annual economic cost of adult vision loss currently exceeds $51 billion dollars.

In addition, the CDC reports that the prevalence of blindness and visio
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SOURCE American Optometric Association
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