It seems that the word is getting through to seniors about how a comprehensive eye exam can help reduce the risk of functional visual impairment later in life. According to a recent report, between 1984 and 2010, improved preventive behaviors and more effective treatments have combined to significantly reduce eyesight problems that interfered with daily activities. In 1984, an estimated 23% of people aged 65 years and older reported functional visual impairment, while only 10% did so in 2010. Researchers attribute the welcome decrease to declining numbers of older smokers and improvements in cataract surgery and treatment of diabetes-related eye problems. It is important to note that some eye diseases (like glaucoma) progress with few noticeable symptoms, making exams necessary. Smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of severe vision loss among people over 60.You probably see a dentist twice a year and a doctor once a year. Your eyes, like the rest of your body, need routine preventive care.