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Eye-Opening Survey Reveals How Filipinos Neglect Vision Health

Medically reviewed by Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO · Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Vincent Sales · Updated Aug 25, 2022

    Eye-Opening Survey Reveals How Filipinos Neglect Vision Health

    When was the last time you had your eyes checked? If you’re like over a quarter of Filipinos, the answer is never. In fact, eye care is so low on the priorities of Filipinos that 26% of them cannot even remember the last time they had an eye exam. These are just a few of the results of a groundbreaking survey by Hello Doctor Philippines for World Sight Day. Find out what else we can learn about eye health, and what we can do to improve it for ourselves, and for our children.

    The Importance of Eye Care

    Eye health is a cornerstone of health, given how important vision is in our lives. Without our eyesight, or with impaired vision, many of our daily tasks would be impossible. For this reason, regular eye exams are essential to ensure that our eyes are functioning as they should.

    During an eye exam, doctors check for1:

  • Refractive errors – These include astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, or presbyopia (losing near-focus vision).
  • Problems with the muscles supporting the eyes – Conditions such as strabismus (crossed eyes) or amblyopia (lazy eye) are caused by problems with these muscles.
  • Eye doctors also check for eye diseases such as1:

    While eye exams can help in detecting diseases that can lead to loss of vision or blindness, according to the Hello Doctor Survey, only 3% of Filipinos have had their eyes checked for glaucoma.

    How Often Should You Have Your Eyes Checked?

    In the Philippines, according to the Hello Doctor Survey, 2 in 3 Filipinos wait for unusual symptoms in their eyes before they visit an eye doctor. Or they only have their eyes checked when they cannot see clearly.

    Unfortunately, this is far from ideal. Doctors recommend that you have your eyes checked at least once every 2 to 3 years if you are an adult, and at least once every 2 years if you are over the age of 40. And if you have vision problems, eye care checkups should be more often, depending on your doctor’s advice.

    eye care

    At around the age of 40, you are likely to have changes in vision and you may experience early signs of disease. That’s why doctors recommend a complete eye checkup at 40 years old1. This will allow for early treatment of eye diseases or correction of any vision problems that occur. However, this doesn’t mean you should wait for middle age or for eye problems to appear.

    Eye Care for Children

    If you thought that children don’t need eye checkups, you’re not alone. 61% of Filipino parents reported that their children have never had an eye exam. And together with these parents, you would also be wrong. Children do, in fact, need regular eye care checkups to see if their eyes are developing correctly.

    Eye care for children begins soon after birth: Doctors check for blink and pupil response as well as eye reflexes. Another checkup is done usually in the child’s first year of life2.

    Between the age of 3 and 5, children should receive another eye care checkup. In this eye exam, doctors check the alignment of the eyes as well as refractive errors2. And should any problems be found, doctors can begin treatment or prescribe corrective glasses. 

    According to the American Optometric Association, “Childhood vision disorders can hinder kids’ development, school performance, social interactions and self-esteem.” And as children progress through school, the demands on their vision increase3. Yet in the Philippines, 82% of parents reported that their children’s first eye exam was at age 7 or older.

    Eye Care for All

    It’s not too late. Regular eye care exams are as necessary as other health checkups. And they can help in the early detection of disease as well as the correction of vision problems for both children and adults. 

    Today, Filipinos may neglect eye care, but the future can still be a healthy one. Have your eyes checked regularly, especially if you are overweight or obese, suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, or if you have a family history of eye disease4.

    Learn more about Eye Health here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Victor Paulino, MD, DPBO

    Ophthalmology · Makati Medical Center

    Written by Vincent Sales · Updated Aug 25, 2022

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