Where Does Your State Fall on the List?

Though vision problems can affect anyone, no matter what state they live in, there are some states where people are more at risk for cataracts, Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Top 5 States with the Highest Prevalence of Cataracts:

1. Florida

2. North Dakota

3. Iowa

4. South Dakota

5. Pennsylvania

A cataract limits the amount of light that passes through the lens of your eye and is often described as a clouding of the lens. While most cataracts are age-related, researchers believe that smoking and diabetes can also cause cataracts. Symptoms vary based on the type of cataract and can go unnoticed until your vision has been significantly impacted. The most distinctive symptom is cloudy or blurry vision.

Top 5 States with the Highest Prevalence of AMD:

1. North Dakota

2. Iowa

3. South Dakota

4. Rhode Island

5. Nebraska

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is most prevalent in people 50 and older and is a leading cause of blindness. The most common symptom is a blurred area in the center of your vision, as the condition progresses, the blurred area may get larger or it may become a blank spot. Although age is the major risk factor, research shows that other factors such as smoking, diet and genetics can increase the risk of developing AMD.

Top 5 States with the Highest Prevalence of Glaucoma:

1. District of Columbia

2. Hawaii

3. Mississippi

4. Louisiana

5. Maryland

Glaucoma causes permanent damage to the optic nerve, which leads to a gradual loss of your peripheral vision. As the disease progresses, the vision loss works its way toward the central vision and, if left untreated, leads to blindness. Unfortunately, because of its slow progression and the loss of peripheral vision, glaucoma can go unnoticed until it’s too late. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, when it’s diagnosed in its early stages, treatment can slow and at times prevent the progression.

Top 5 States with the Highest Prevalence of Diabetic Retinopathy:

1. New Mexico

2. Florida

3. Texas

4. California

5. Arizona

As you may have gathered, diabetic retinopathy affects people with diabetes. The condition damages retinal blood vessels causing them to bleed or leak fluid, which can cause vision loss and blindness. In early stages of diabetic retinopathy, it’s common for patients to have no symptoms. Those who do experience symptoms report the appearance of “floating” spots caused by bleeding from retinal blood vessels. While these spots may go away on their own, if left untreated, the bleeding will likely happen again. The longer diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, the higher the risk of permanent vision loss.

States with the Highest Prevalence of Vision Problems

Living in a state with a high prevalence of any vision impairment or disease does not necessarily put you at a higher risk. Since many eye conditions go undetected in their early stages, it’s important to visit your eye doctor annually so she can check for these and other conditions. In most cases, if caught early, there are treatments your eye doctor can recommend or perform to help save your sight.