As we age, many of us find that our vision isn’t what it used to be. There are many things that can affect our ability to see the world. It’s important to understand the most common diseases, so you know when to seek medical attention.
Cataracts appear as clouding on the lens of the eye. This area is made of protein and water. As we age, the protein may begin to clump together, causing the cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually begin with fuzzy or cloudy vision and glare-related issues. Patients may also describe double vision in one of their eyes. This condition can be corrected with surgery.
Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve that brings on blindness. Patients may notice no symptoms at first. As the condition worsens, they will begin to notice peripheral sight fading.
Glaucoma ranks as the biggest cause of vision loss in the U.S. It may be treated with medication or eye drops. When a prescription doesn’t work, surgery may be recommended.
This condition occurs when large and medium arteries in the temple are blocked or become inflamed. Patients may describe a severe headache and pain when chewing. After a few weeks, the patient may also experience sudden vision loss in a single eye accompanied by a low-grade fever. Vision may be restored if the condition is caught early.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disorder that can happen in patients with diabetes. As the disease changes retinal blood vessels, they can begin to leak and grow where they shouldn’t be. This can lead to hemorrhaging. As the vessels heal, they can cause retinal detachment. Diabetic retinopathy symptoms include shadows, distorted or blurred vision, and partial loss of vision in one eye.
Macular degeneration causes diminished sight at the center of the patient’s field of vision. It happens when the macula deteriorates. Patients may notice difficulty reading, driving, or performing other tasks. This condition can be treated with laser surgery.
If you notice a change in vision or any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact your eye doctor immediately for an appointment. The best way to ensure maintaining healthy vision is by visiting your ophthalmologist yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.