A new poll by Research!America has indicated that Americans fear blindness as much as they fear Alzheimer’s, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. It was ranked as one of the top “worst things that could happen to you” by survey respondents.
According to this research, Americans fear losing their sight more than they do losing their memory, hearing, speech, or even a limb. Those who responded to the survey said they feared losing independence and that their quality of life would suffer greatly if their vision were compromised. Eighty-eight percent of those who took part in the online survey said that vision health was overall greatly important to being healthy in general.
Researchers on the study say that these findings underscore how important it is for vision research to be carried out and continue. They wrote in a statement:
“The consistency of these findings among the varying ethnic/racial groups underscores the importance of educating the public on eye health and mobilizing public support for vision research.”
Many of those who took the survey said they feel research on vision and eye health should be a top priority when it comes to public funding and medical research. Most said the $2.10 per person per year the government spends on the research was not adequate. 
Lack of research also echoed a general lack of awareness of eye issues and conditions. Two thirds of those who took the survey reported wearing glasses, but many were not aware of eye diseases and conditions that are necessary to overall ocular health.
The survey found that 66% of said they were aware of cataracts, 63% were aware of glaucoma, 50% macular degeneration, and 37% were aware of diabetic retinopathy. Surprisingly, one forth of those who responded to the survey were unaware of any of these eye conditions, which could put their future eye health at risk. Less than half were aware that smoking could cause vision problems. 
These findings demonstrate the importance many people place on their eye health. They also show that education on eye health is possibly lacking, meaning that the government and private institutions might need to reconsider how their funds are spent.