Our Eyes are a Pillar to Our Health
What if there was a way to ease your day-to-day life? Well, there is.
Our health often revolves around our ability to see and the comfort of our eyes. We rely on our eyes to make sense of the world around us, and vision is arguably one of the most important ways we process the world around us. But changes in our vision can influence other areas of our lives.
What else are our eyes connected to?
Our brain. And the functionality of our eyes is related to much more. Vision changes have been linked to:
- Feeling isolated
Studies have found that those with vision impairment have much higher rates of depressive symptoms compared to those without. Vision loss can affect a person’s quality of life through a decline in their mental health, or a decrease in their social engagement, and impact their school or work. Vision impairment is not only vision loss it can also be eye discomfort.
Dry eyes are an extremely common condition in the US, impacting approximately 5-15% of the US population. This number is as high as 49,000,000 [49 MILLION] people. And this is a confounding condition. Without truly understanding what dry eye is, people often mistake that “dry eye” conditions are only dry eyes. But in reality. They are much more. Those who have dry eyes may experience an array of symptoms. These are just SOME of the obvious ones.
Naturally, patients ask the question, “What causes my dry eye”? While aging is a common cause of dry eye, some others are:
- Side effects of some medication
- Certain disease
- Environmental conditions
- Brain Injury
These causes interrupt the natural tear production and drainage balance characterized by changes in the ocular surface epithelia. This leads to either an inadequate tear production or poor quality of tears, and both lead to dry eyes.
Does it go away?
We don’t know. Dry eye can become a chronic condition. So it is crucial to pay attention to situations that can aggravate your symptoms or act on any preventative measures. If ignored, chronic dry eye conditions can cause even further damage to ocular tissue, as well as have a continuously negative effect on the individual's Quality Of Life (QOL).
Individuals who also experience vision loss, are likely to face substantial economic impact. It may not be a sudden impact, but it can resemble a dominion effect. For example. There are new medical expenses, and a potential loss of job productivity which can lead to being let go or a cut in hours, causing a reduction in their income, and in turn causing a negative economic impact on their household. Individuals experiencing these vision problems often need to use more community services, and these costs quickly add up.
Furthermore, impairment in vision is also associated with changes in physical health. Not having the same vision ability that one is used to, can lead to an increased risk for falls and fractures. In the instance that an individual experiences a new physical injury, they must simultaneously manage both impairments, leading possibly to an even greater decline in their quality of life.
For those with vision impairment, struggles with daily tasks, such as bathing, mobility, and dressing intensified for those who also experience other chronic conditions such as brain injury or depression. This highlights the fact that quality of life can be doubly impacted for those who experience brain injury and vision impairment, signally the importance that these individuals meriting increased attention.
Can you think of groups of individuals who may be intersected by these issues?
Brain Injury Survivors.
The commonality of eye conditions is remarkable, especially for veterans, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivors.
- Research shows that up to 90% of TBI patients will suffer from some form of visual dysfunction.
- About 130,000 US veterans are legally blind.
- Over 1 million veterans experience visual dysfunction that impacts their ability to do daily tasks.
It is also important to note that between 2000 and 2020 more than 430,000 U.S service members were diagnosed with a TBI. This astronomical number doesn’t even include all the TBIs or other brain injuries that go undiagnosed.
It is apparent that one’s eyes often suffer following active duty or after sustaining a brain injury, or both.
Much Needed Attention
Luckily, there are individuals turning attention toward veterans, with brain injuries, experiencing extreme vision discomfort. Meet Dr. David Biberdorf, O.D., C.O.V.D!
Dr. David Biberdorf is actively engaged in vision research through his many publications, paper presentations, and pilot studies. With over 37 years of experience within the field, he is most definitely an expert.
Recently, in partnership with Power of Patients, Dr. Biberdorf is helping to facilitate a pilot study to help address the high incidence of chronic dry eye in veterans who have sustained a head injury. Dr. Biberdorf will be joining us for Webinar Wednesday to introduce our plan, as well as to explain further how mental health and the quality of life of these individuals can be seriously impacted by their vision impairment.
This is not a discussion that you do want to miss. Be sure to join us next Wednesday, May 18th at 3:00 pm EST!