By Elizabeth Elizalde // SWNS
From seeing their loved one’s faces to watching the sun rise and set – these are some of the things Americans would miss looking at the most if they ever lost their eyesight.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans found that respondents would also miss witnessing their children’s milestones (26%), seeing nature (23%), their pets (22%) and their favorite TV shows/movies (15%).
When asked which of the five senses are the most important to them, vision came out on top with 77% of the votes.
The other senses, such as hearing (14%), touching (6%), smelling (2%) and tasting (1%), trailed extremely far behind.
Since vision is the most critical sense for the vast majority, it’s no surprise that 65% wish they took better care of their eyes, while another 58% feel they take their eyesight for granted.
The study conducted by OnePoll for NVISION also found that the average person started worrying about their eyesight at 39 years old.
And although 48% of respondents rate their eyesight as “good,” most find it “easy” to take care of their eyes (62%), while a fifth find it difficult (19%).
Respondents said they find it easy because they simply care about their vision (69%), they have a good eye doctor (51%) and follow a daily routine (48%).
Those who find it difficult to care for their eyes cited many challenges, such as their insurance not covering many of their eye treatments (48%), not having the resources to do so (39%) and not having a good eye doctor (38%).
Regardless, 45% believe it’s “very important” to visit the eye doctor annually, with respondents saying they’ve gone to their optometrist an average of four times in the last five years.
And respondents have also taken matters into their own hands to better care for their eyes.
Eating a healthy diet (43%), wearing sunglasses (41%), getting more sleep (40%), drinking more water (40%), avoiding rubbing their eyes too much (39%) and washing their hands regularly (38%) are some of the steps people have taken to maintain their eyes.
“Every day, I see patients with eye diseases that were either preventable or treatable if caught earlier,” said Dr. Dagny Zhu, a Harvard-trained surgeon at NVISION Eye Centers. “Patients who eat healthy, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and wear sunglasses can prolong the health of their eyes and delay the need for some treatments like cataract surgery. Other eye problems like glaucoma are ‘silent’ and go unnoticed until it’s too late and significant vision has been lost. That’s why it’s so important to take care of our eyes and to see the eye doctor regularly for routine checkups.”
The survey further asked respondents about their opinions on several eye health statements – with 46% believing that staring directly at the sun is bad for your eyes, which Zhu says is the case.
Many think wearing the wrong eyeglasses (39%) and staring at the TV very closely can cause damage (38%). Other statements people are more likely to believe are true are “reading in dim light is harmful to your eyes” (35%), “using computers frequently can damage your eyes” (35%) and “you lose your vision as you age” (34%). Zhu also points out that vision gets worse with age.
And when asked about LASIK eye surgery, of the 72% of respondents who have never been through the procedure, 43% revealed they wouldn’t be afraid to undergo surgery if their eyesight were to diminish. In comparison, 35% expressed hesitation – mainly because of their fear of becoming permanently blind (67%), pain (53%) and the recovery process (47%).
“LASIK is one of the most studied elective procedures available today and has been shown to be safe and effective with a high level of patient satisfaction. LASIK is not painful,” added Zhu. “There are many safety mechanisms built into the laser machine making complications during the procedure extremely rare.”
THE TOP 10 THINGS AMERICANS WOULD MISS SEEING IF THEY EVER LOST THEIR VISION
Their loved one’s faces - 37%
Their children’s milestones - 26%
Nature - 23%
Their pets - 22%
Their favorite TV shows/movies - 15%
Certain colors - 13%
The sunrise/sunset - 13%
Their milestones - 12%
Reading their favorite books - 11%
Food - 11%