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Eye Diseases Rising at Rapid Rates in U.S.

Biggest Rises Seen in Diabetic Retinopathy, Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Protecting Eye Health

Getting regular eye checkups is a good start to protect your eye health, says Sumers, a Ridgewood, N.J., ophthalmologist.

So are regular checkups, especially a check of blood glucose, to be sure you are not in early stages of diabetes, she says.

"Talk to your primary care provider about what you are most at risk for," Todd says.

He notes that ethnic groups differ, in general, in their risk for specific eye diseases.

While whites have a higher risk of macular degeneration than other groups, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians often have higher rates of glaucoma, he says.

The rates of diabetes are higher in African-Americans and Hispanics than in others, he says.

Lifestyle affects vision problems, too, Todd tells WebMD. Smoking can boost the risk of both cataracts and macular degeneration, he says.

Eating healthy can help your eyes, too, he says.

The full report can be viewed at www.preventblindness.org/visionproblems.

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