New Survey Reveals That 9 in 10 People Agree on Importance of Healthy Eyes

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Findings from a new survey show that half of the people in the U.S. are neglecting their eyes despite 84 percent of people rating vision as their most important sense. This disconnect occurs because people don’t understand the importance of annual eye exams and its connection to overall health, said VSP Vision Care and market research agency YouGov, which recently released these findings. In fact, only 1 percent of people know that signs of serious conditions like thyroid disease, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders and certain types of cancer can be detected through annual eye exams. The other survey results also show that most Americans don’t realize that an eye exam is about more than just seeing well.

“Eye exams are especially important for the more than 100 million U.S. adults now living with diabetes or prediabetes,” said Dr. Mary Anne Murphy, board member at VSP Global. The survey found that 6 in 10 people in the U.S. worry about the impact diabetes might have on their family health, but only 4 percent know that signs of diabetes can be detected through an eye exam.

Eight in 10 parents agree that a regular eye exam helps kids do their best in school, but nearly half wait until their child complains about their vision to schedule an eye exam. “In my practice, I see this happen often because parents don’t realize that their child might not know what seeing clearly looks like,” said Dr. Murphy. “Luckily, the majority of vision problems that interfere with reading and learning are very treatable once detected. However, putting off vision exams can do irreversible damage.”