16 May Eye Diseases
Did you know that as you age, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions? In fact, as you age your vision changes, perhaps it starts with needing glasses to see up close, or you have trouble adjusting to glare. Changes like these are a normal part of aging. But, these changes alone cannot stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle or maintaining your independence. There is however, eye diseases that can. These include macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, and glaucoma. Maintaining your eyes as you age is just as important as maintaining your overall health. While you can’t prevent all age-related changes to your eyes, you can protect your vision and reduce your risk for serious eye disease in the future. With this in mind, we offer some insight on common eye diseases and how to prevent them.
Vision is the most important of our five senses, yet many people still take it for granted.
Age-Related Eye Diseases
Many eye diseases have no early symptoms. In fact, many are painless and you may see no change in your vision until the disease has become advanced. In the U.S., the leading causes of blindness and low vision are primarily age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Although these eye diseases have no early warning signs or symptoms, a comprehensive eye exam can detect them in their early stages before vision loss occurs. Remember, sight is, arguably, our most important sense. And, as with any part of the body, problems with our sight can arise from illness, injury, or age. Which is why it is important for you to learn all you can about common eye diseases and how to prevent them.
While you can’t prevent all age-related changes to your eyes, you can protect your vision and reduce your risk for serious eye disease in the future.
Aging causes most cataracts, but certain risk factors such as long-term exposure to UV rays can be associated with cataract formation. Other causes like diabetes and hypertension also increase your risk of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. They tend to grow slowly, so vision gets worse gradually. Over time, the cloudy area of the lens gets larger. And as a result, seeing may become more difficult (your vision may get duller or blurrier). A cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye exam that includes a visual acuity test, dilated eye exam, and eye pressure testing.
Common Symptoms of a Cataract:
- Cloudy or blurred vision
- Seeing colors as faded or yellow
- Glare extra sensitive to light
- Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright
- Halos may appear around lights
- Poor night vision
- Double vision
- Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses
Macular degeneration is an eye disease associated with aging. It is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting people aged 50 years and older. The disease affects the sharp central vision you need for activities like driving, watching TV, or reading. And, because it also has an impact on visual acuity, recognizing faces, using a computer, and other visual tasks that require you to see fine detail can become distorted. Only a comprehensive eye exam can detect macular degeneration. While blurred vision is a key symptom of macular degeneration people may also experience:
- Partial loss of vision
- Straight lines appear wavy
- Blurred vision (key symptom)
- Distorted vision
- Inability to see in dim light
- Seeing spots
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease refers to a group of eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease. It can cause severe vision loss or blindness. The most common diabetic eye disease is diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Other eye diseases commonly associated with having diabetes include, diabetic macular edema, cataract, and glaucoma. Diabetic eye disease has no early warning signs. If you have diabetes, make sure you get a diabetic eye exam at least once a year. Early detection is key to your vision and overall health.
With glaucoma, pressure builds up inside the eye and can eventually damage the optic nerve. When this happens, it can eventually lead to loss of sight. Without treatment, people with the condition will slowly lose their peripheral vision. As it remains untreated, those who have it may miss objects to the side and out of the corner of their eye. And, over time, central vision may decrease until no vision remains.
Eye Disease Prevention and Detection
Vision is the most important of our five senses, yet many people still take it for granted. Even if you think you vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, an eye exam is the only way to be really sure. Getting an annual eye exam is like getting a “physical” for your eyes. That’s why it is important to make it an essential part of your annual healthcare program. Our comprehensive eye exams include a detailed assessment of your vision and overall health. This includes checking your eye pressure, visual acuity, peripheral vision, and depth perception. We also evaluate you for many eye diseases such as, glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic eye diseases.For more information on our eye exams or to book an appointment, call us at (805) 522-7007 or send us a message.