Vision Eye Illnesses

EYE ILLNESSES


     

Cataracts

Causes: Cataracts occur when the natural lens inside the eye becomes discolored or cloudy, causing blurred or distorted vision. This blurring is the result of a chemical change within the eye, most often occurring after the age of 55. The direct cause of cataracts is not known, although heredity, injury, and/or disease might be factors. Additional factors that may contribute to the development of cataracts include exposure to ultraviolet light, smoking, and certain prescription drugs.

Indications cataracts may be forming:

   : Blurred/hazy vision

   : Spots in front of the eyes

   : Increased sensitivity to light and resulting glare

   : Feeling of "film" over the eyes

   : Decreased vision in low illumination (night driving)

Diagnosis and Treatment: Although there is currently no known method to keep cataracts from developing, your eye care specialist can diagnose and monitor cataracts, and also prescribe glasses or lenses that may improve vision.

          

 

 Photo: National Eye Institute

  

 

 

    
   

Photo:
American Academy of
Ophthalmology
     

 
    

Diabetic Retinopathy

Causes: Diabetics must be particularly careful to receive regular eye exams, because diabetes may contribute to an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. Undiagnosed and untreated, diabetic retinopathy may significantly reduce both central and peripheral vision, and may lead to blindness.

Symptoms: In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy may cause blurred vision, or may actually have no visual symptoms at all.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Undetected or untreated, more serious symptoms may develop, including blind spots, floaters and blindness. Prevent the onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy by taking care to follow all medical instructions including medications, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.  


    

Glaucoma

Causes: It typically affects people over the age of 40. Early signs may occur when the passages that filter and exchange fluid from within the eye become blocked, causing the internal eye pressure to increase. The chances of developing glaucoma are increased when there is a family history of the disease and/or diabetes.

Symptoms: Glaucoma tends to develop gradually and without symptoms. If there are symptoms, they may include minor blurring of vision, loss of central or peripheral vision, the appearance of colored rings around lights, and eye pain or dull headaches. A comprehensive eye exam can detect the onset of signs and symptoms of glaucoma.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but it can, in most cases, be controlled. Undiagnosed and untreated, this increased pressure may cause permanent damage to the optic nerve. Your eye care specialist will do further testing and may prescribe medication to control the pressure inside the eye or recommend other forms of treatment, including surgery.

  

   
 



        
 

Macular Degeneration

Causes: The macula (the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision) undergoes vascular changes that may cause loss of central vision.

Symptoms:

   : Gradual loss of clear central, or "straight-ahead" vision

   : Distorted or wavy vision

   : Gradual loss of color vision

   : A dark or empty area (i.e., "blind spot") in the center of your field of vision


Diagnosis and Treatment:
This condition is usually permanent and may progress if it goes undetected and untreated. The more common form of macular degeneration is the dry form. Unfortunately, there is no known treatment for this form. A less common form of macular degeneration is the wet form, in which fluid leaks from blood vessels surrounding the macula. If detected early, this form may be treatable with certain laser procedures. Although central vision loss cannot be restored, special optical devices can be prescribed to help maximize the effectiveness of remaining vision. In addition, certain vitamin and mineral supplements may help prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration.