Many of us take our eyes and eyesight for granted. Though we may do our best to shield our eyes from harmful UV rays and take frequent breaks from our computer screens, there are many other ways that we could be potentially harming our eyes, leading to eye diseases as we age. Several common eye diseases can put you at risk for a more severe eye condition or even legal blindness. Here are just 5 of those eye diseases.
A cataract is characterized by a visible clouding sensation in the eye’s lens. It can happen in one or both eyes. (It can even happen in other animals, too!) This fogginess can be dangerous since it doesn’t allow the same amount of light to reach the back of the retina. In some cases, people who live with cataracts can experience 20/200 vision or even less. However, cataract surgery is common and usually very effective. The actual lens is removed and is replaced with a synthetic version. Vision tests are usually performed to determine the cause and course of action.
Patients with diabetes have much more to worry about than their blood sugar alone. Diabetes can directly cause retinal detachment, bleeding, or swelling, which can lead to blindness. Any diabetic who wants to avoid retinopathy should make sure their blood pressure and sugar levels are under control. Diabetics are also advised to get annual comprehensive eye exams.
Glaucoma is a fairly common condition, characterized by damaged signals sent from the eye to the brain. If not cared for properly, glaucoma can lead to blindness. It progresses fairly slowly, so if diagnosed early, it’s possible for a glaucoma patient to extend the life of his or her eyesight. Vision exams, medications and surgery may be used to address glaucoma and prevent further eyesight damage.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Another common eye condition, age-related macular degeneration (sometimes abbreviated as AMD) affects the central part of the retina, known as the macula. People with AMD have trouble focusing their eyes but can usually use their peripheral vision just fine. Many people with AMD see improvement with lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking and improving dietary choices.
People with keratoconus have a relatively thin cornea. It becomes thinner over time and will eventually bulge, potentially having a severe effect on eyesight. Unfortunately, this condition cannot be reversed, so treatment focuses on preventing further damage. Symptoms include astigmatism, nearsightedness, blurred vision, light & glare sensitivity, and frequent eyesight prescription changes.
The cause of keratoconus is not crystal clear, but many optical professionals believe it can be triggered by intense and consistent eye rubbing. While it is very rare for keratoconus to lead to complete blindness, it can have a severe effect on the patient’s quality of life and could very well lead to legal blindness.
Are You in Need of Eye Care?
If you’re due for your next eye examination or think you may have symptoms of one of the above conditions, consult the professionals at Eyelux Optometry. They specialize in everything optical, from basic eye care and prescriptions to refractive therapy and digital retinal imaging.