When asked what they’re most afraid of, a lot of people answer that it’s going blind. In fact, studies and surveys have shown that people are more afraid of vision loss than cancer; stroke; heart disease; loss of hearing, memory, speech, or a limb; or even premature death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6 million Americans have vision loss and 1 million are blind. More than 1.6 million Americans with blindness or vision loss today are under the age of 40.
The National Eye Institute expects the number of people who are blind to double by 2050.
As we age, we are increasingly likely to face the possibility of vision loss due to any one of these common causes:
- Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over 40 and the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
- Over 24.4 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans over 60.
- More people are affected by AMD than cataracts and glaucoma combined.
- AMD can lead to central vision loss, making tasks like reading and recognizing faces challenging.
- Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because it can cause vision loss without noticeable symptoms.
- About 3 million Americans have glaucoma, but half may not even know it.
- Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults.
- Approximately one in three people with diabetes over the age of 40 have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
Blindness can be a scary idea, and a scary reality, for many people. The reason Leader Dog exists is to make that reality a better place for anyone whose loss of sight is impacting their daily life. Blindness often causes isolation and depression, but when people feel safe and confident about leaving their homes, the world opens up again.
October is Blindness Awareness Month in the U.S., which was created to help people understand the realities of living without sight.
This Blindness Awareness Month, we invite you to help us make a difference for people who are blind. Any gift you make helps us continue to provide our programs and services completely free of charge for our clients. Together, we have the ability to empower people living with vision loss to replace fear and isolation with confidence and independence. Make a gift in honor of Blindness Awareness Month.
If you or someone you know is being impacted by vision loss and would like to explore options to assist with travel independence, our client services team is here to help. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, whether you’re preparing for the future or ready for services right now. Contact Leader Dog’s client services team.