An eye disease could hit at any time. Some issues come with age and others are caused by trauma and serious health conditions. Some eye diseases are minor and treatable, but others can’t be cured. If detected and treated early, vision loss can be prevented or slowed.
Here are three of the most common eye diseases you should know about.
A cataract is when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy. It develops when protein builds up in the eye, preventing the lens from sending clear images to the retina. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. They can occur at any age, but are more common in people 50 years and older. This eye disease can affect one eye or both.
Symptoms of cataracts include:
- Vision that is blurry, cloudy, or foggy
- Double vision
- Trouble seeing well at night
- Increased sensitivity to glare
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Halos surrounding lights
- Nearsightedness in older people
- Seeing colors as faded or yellow
- A need for frequent changes in contacts or glasses
Usually, cataracts develop slowly over time and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. In advanced stages, cataracts will affect your vision. It can lead to total blindness if left untreated.
Surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens has a high success rate. It can correct vision problems caused by cataracts and restore your ability to go about your daily activities.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that result from higher fluid pressure in the eye. The pressure damages the eye’s optic nerve, affecting how images are transmitted to the brain. Glaucoma is often hereditary and is common in people over age 40 and those of African or Asian origin. Undetected and untreated, this disease can lead to irreversible vision loss and blindness.
In its early stages, glaucoma doesn’t usually have any symptoms. You may not even know you have it until the disease is advanced. Some of the symptoms you may notice include:
- Loss of side (peripheral) vision
- Tunnel vision
- Seeing halos around lights
- Eye pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blind spots, low vision, or blurred vision
Treatments focus on reducing eye pressure. They include medication, eye drops, surgery, and laser surgery.
Diabetes-related retinopathy is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. This eye disease occurs when uncontrolled high blood sugar levels cause ongoing damage to blood vessels in the retina (the thin, light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye).
Most people with diabetic retinopathy experience no vision changes until the disease is severe. In some cases, symptoms come and go. When this eye disease gets to the advanced stages, blood vessels in the retina start to bleed.
Common symptoms include:
- Poor night vision
- Distorted or blurry vision
- Spots or streaks in your vision
- Seeing color as faded or having new color blindness
- Trouble seeing faraway objects
The risks of diabetes-related retinopathy are reduced through good control of blood sugar and blood pressure. Treatment includes medication and surgery to repair or shrink blood vessels in the retina.
The human eye is extremely sensitive to diseases. They require extra care and attention if you want them to stay healthy for years to come. It’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle and get regular visits to your eye doctor.
If you notice any changes in your vision or haven’t been to the eye doctor for a while, contact Valley Eyecare Center to make an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists.