Vision loss is unfortunately more common than you may think! The good news is that it is one of the most prevalent disabilities in adults and children. Knowing what puts you at risk of developing vision loss is important because it can help you to be proactive about caring for your eyes.
To find out what the most common causes of vision loss and the risk factors associated with each, please continue reading this article.
Spreading awareness and learning about visual health is just one way we, as your eye doctor, can help. Call us today to to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.
Common Causes of Vision Loss
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight because it often has no symptoms. Many people think that it is just an increase in eye pressure. It is a lot more complex than that. The best was to detect glaucoma and prevent complications due to glaucoma, is to find it in the early stages. Since there are very few symptoms, the best prevention is early diagnosis during an annual eye examination. Advanced or rapidly progressing glaucoma can cause symptoms such as blurred vision, headache, severe eye pain and redness, seeing halos around lights, and nausea.
Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:
- Age: those over 40 are more susceptible to glaucoma.
- Family history of glaucoma
- African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- High myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Previous eye injury or certain eye surgeries
- Certain medications, like corticosteroids
- Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and sickle-cell anemia
Cataracts occur when the eye's lens becomes cloudy. A healthy lens is clear and allows light to pass through to the retina, the back part of the eye that captures light. Common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurred vision and that is why some people think that there is a curtain or something growing over their eye. That is not the case. Other symptoms include: difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, double vision in the affected eye, and seeing colors as faded or yellowish.
Risk factors for developing cataracts include:
- Previous eye surgery, injury, or inflammation
- Extended use of corticosteroids
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. The macula is the central part of the retina that enables us to see sharp details and to see color. Early stages of AMD usually go unnoticed, but later stages of the disease can produce symptoms like blurred vision, dark or blurry areas in your central vision, and problems with color perception.
Macular Degeneration can be controlled by using certain treatments to prevent it from progressing and causing more vision loss. Here too, early detection and treatment is key.
Risk factors for developing AMD include:
- Long-term sun exposure
- Heart disease
- Family history of AMD
- Light-colored eyes
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes that affects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina. At the start, diabetic retinopathy has no symptoms but it can eventually lead to blindness. As it develops, it can cause increased floaters, impaired color vision, dark spots in your visual field, and blurred vision.
Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:
- Length of time from diabetes diagnosis — the longer you’ve had it, the higher your chances of developing visual complications
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- High cholesterol or blood pressure
- African American, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities
- Family history of DR
So, what’s the bottom line ?
There are many factors that contribute to eye disease and vision loss. Some may even be relevant to you. If you think you may be at risk for vision loss or experience any of the symptoms listed above, let us know as soon as possible. We, at Old Bridge take your vision very seriously. We recommend that you have ab eye examination every year in order to detect these problems early so we can address the problem if there is one. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Family Eye Care today.
Frequently Asked Questions With Our Old Bridge Eye Doctors
- Can blindness be prevented?
The idea is early detection. When we identify a problem early, many eye diseases can be treated to stop or slow the disease from becoming worse and prevent vision loss. The best things you can do to preserve your vision for the long term is to lead a healthy lifestyle and make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam every year.
- Which eye diseases are genetically inherited?
There are more than 350 ocular diseases that have some sort of genetic component. Certain diseases, like retinitis pigmentosa and albinism, are directly inherited through chromosomal information. In other cases, a predisposition to the disease is inherited, rather than the disease itself.