How important is your eyesight?


According to a survey of 11,000 people from 11 countries (including the U.S.) conducted by Bausch + Lomb and released Wednesday, 68 percent of us would rather lose a limb than lose our vision. Of those surveyed, 79 percent would rather lose their sense of taste -- and 67 percent would rather lose 10 years of their life than lose their vision.

Given that people apparently place such high value on vision, the survey’s other key finding that only about one-fifth of us get regular eye exams is kind of surprising.The survey asked people why they didn’t get eye exams; most said it was because they could see just fine or they didn’t have any troubling symptoms. (Oddly, the survey didn’t ask whether insurance coverage – or lack thereof – affected people’s likelihood of getting their eyes examined.)

The press materials announcing the survey’s release point out that eye exams are important not only in preserving vision but also for assessing a patient’s overall health. Apparently a doctor can detect signs of diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments by looking at the blood vessels and other structures in the eyes; symptoms can show up there long before they emerge elsewhere in the body.

Bausch + Lomb, of course, makes eye-care products and thus has an interest in reminding people to attend to their eye health. To that end, they’ve produced this adorable little video narrated by a pair of eyeballs encouraging you to schedule an eye exam.

Here’s eye-care info from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. (I am always so proud when I spell that word correctly the first time!). According to that organization, about 3.6 million Americans over age 40 are visually impaired and more than 1 million are legally blind.

Do these survey findings hit close to home? Are you one of those who’d rather die a whole decade early in exchange for retaining your eyesight – but who doesn’t do much to keep your eyes healthy?