Eye Doctors to Promote Detection and Treatment of Age-​Related Ocular Disease

BY Rachel Cagle
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"It’s natural to worry about losing your vision. After all, according to Consumer Reports, three of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.­ (cataracts, glaucoma, and age-​related macular degeneration) all become more common as we age. But some drug, supplement, and lens makers, and even some doctors, take advantage of that fear, recommending treatments that are expensive, unnecessary, and even risky."

There are some Potential Eye Doctor Switchers who like to be prepared when making medical decisions like these, though. According to AudienceSCAN, last month, 61.9% of these consumers used a search engine to research a product or service they were considering. They were probably using Google, the preferred search engine of 90.6% of these patients. However, only 21% will go past the first page of results. For those who don't do the research, here's what they should know before making eye-​related medical decisions.


The only way to cure cataracts­, a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision­, is with surgery to replace the bad lens with an artificial one."

"Though the procedure is very safe and effective, some doctors recommend needless tests or push newer types of lenses that pose risks."

"Research shows that for most people the only pre-​op requirements are that you be free of infection and have normal blood pressure and heart rate. Yet many doctors routinely order other tests, including blood counts and electrocardiograms, as would be necessary before a major procedure. That’s overkill, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology."

"Those tests can come with high co-​pays and lead to false alarms that may delay surgery or force you to undergo additional tests, such as a chest x‑ray or an ultrasound. So ask whether your doctor plans to recommend such tests and, if so, whether you can skip them."


More than 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma, but only half know it. That makes screening important. Treatment is key, too, because glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. But treatment, which often requires several different daily eye drops, can be expensive and complicated."

"Glaucoma often goes undiagnosed because it causes no symptoms until vision declines, at which point treatment no longer helps. So people ages 40 to 60 should consider being examined by an ophthalmologist or optometrist every three to five years; those older than 60 need an eye exam every one to two years."

"Though many eye doctors screen for the disease with tonometry, a test that measures eye pressure, that’s not enough. Relying only on intraocular pressure when screening for glaucoma could miss up to half of all cases, research suggests, says ophthalmologist Andrew Iwach, M.D., executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco."

"So the exam should also include an ophthalmoscopy, which involves examining your optic nerve. If you have elevated eye pressure but no other signs of glaucoma, you might not need to start treatment, which can be expensive. Instead, your doctor might screen you more often."

"Macular Degeneration

Age-​related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. for people 50 and older, damages the macula, the small area near the center of your retina, causing vision loss in the center of your visual field."

"The advanced disease comes in two main forms: dry AMD, the more common variety, which is treated mainly with dietary supplements; and wet AMD, the more serious form, which requires monthly injections from an ophthalmologist with one of three drugs. There are controversies about both the supplements and the drugs."

"Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that a specific blend of vitamins and minerals known as AREDS (vitamins C and E, plus copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc) cuts the risk (by about 25%) that dry AMD will progress."

"But not all eye supplements contain the proper formulation."

"In January 2015, CVS was sued for incorrectly market­ing its Advanced Eye Health supplement as comparable to the formula used in published studies. And in an analysis of 11 eye-​health supplements in the March 2015 issue of Ophthalmology, only four contained the right mix: PreserVision Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula, PreserVision Eye Vitamin Lutein Formula, PreserVision AREDS2 Formula, and ICAPS AREDS."

"Be wary if your doctor suggests a genetic test to determine which supplement is best for you. Remember: The supplements have been shown to help treat only people diagnosed with AMD. Don’t bother taking any supplement with the hope that it will prevent the disease."

What are the best ways to reach Potential Eye Doctor Switchers with these messages? Well, according to AudienceSCAN, last year, 68.9% of these consumers took action after seeing a TV commercial and 66.6% reacted to direct mail ads they received. They're also 86% more likely than other adults to find ads on their mobile apps useful and 32% more likely to click on text link ads on websites. Also within the last year, these consumers took action after receiving email ads (57.6%), seeing ads on daily deals sites such as Groupon (55.9%) and seeing ads in newspapers, both digital and print (54.4%).

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. Media companies and agencies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.