Vision Problems a Concern Among Hispanics

As the Hispanic population ages, care of the eyes should be of the utmost concern. That's because a recent study indicates that Hispanics' rate of visual impairment and blindness is the highest of any ethnic group in the United States.

The study, titled the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES), tracked 4,600 participants over the age of 40 -- most of Mexican decent -- for four years. Nearly 3 percent of the study participants developed visual impairment and 0.3 percent developed blindness in both eyes.

Individuals who had diabetes faced even greater rates of visual decline. Hispanics were found to be more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy as a result of their disease. What's more, Hispanics had higher rates of developing cataracts in the center of the eye lens than whites.

In lieu of these findings, optometrists and ophthalmologists urge individuals of Hispanic descent to routinely visit an eye doctor for check-ups. An annual vision examination should be part of anyone's wellness routine. A traditional vision exam will include testing of visual acuity and checking the eye for potential disease, and doctors will answer any concerns a patient might have about vision trouble. Also, because vision problems may be symptoms of another disease, it's important for individuals to discuss their medical history so that the eye doctor can have a clear picture of what is going on with his or her patient.