Few other health conditions are as terrifying as blindness. Yet this condition affects thousands every year all over the world.
Here are five eye diseases that are most likely to lead to blindness in the future and how to manage them.
1. Age-Related Macular degeneration:
The retina is a thin layer of tissue on the inner surface of the eye that receives light and turns into signals for the brain. And the region of the retina that accounts for central vision is the macula.
Age related macular degeneration, or AMD, is an eye disorder that generally affects the older population. It is caused by the effect of aging on the macula. This affects the central vision of the eye, and focusing on an object straight ahead becomes difficult.
- Gradual loss of vision
- Vision gets distorted
- Straight lines appear wavy or curved
- Presence of dark or empty area in the center of the field of vision.
There is no definitive treatment available for age-related macular degeneration. However, following a healthy and balanced diet, along with vitamin supplements has been found to improve the condition.
2. Diabetic Retinopathy:
This is a common eye disease associated with all types of diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which there is an increased level of sugar in the blood. This excess blood sugar damages many organs in the body, including the retina of the eye.
- Since diabetes is a disease that develops very slowly, the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy also take a long time to appear.
- Vision becomes blurred or cloudy
- The symptoms develop in both the eyes at the same time
The most obvious step is to control diabetes itself, and to not allow the disorder to develop in the first place. However, despite one’s best efforts, diabetic retinopathy develops. Regular eye examinations are necessary to detect the disease in the early stages.
Medications may be injected directly into the eye to reduce damage to the retina. In advanced cases, eye surgery may be needed.
Each of our eyes has a tiny lens that allows us to see. But with age, these lens start getting clouded. This is called cataract.
Cataracts are an effect of the natural aging of the body and happen to everyone. As such they are the most common eye disorder, but they develop in some people earlier than they do in others.
- Gradual loss of vision that glasses cannot correct
- Vision becomes cloudy
- Color perception is reduced
- Night vision is diminished
Surgery is the primary treatment for cataracts. Cataract surgery is a simple procedure with a high success rate, so most people who go under the knife get their vision back.
Protecting one’s eyes from UV rays can help in preventing or delaying the development of cataracts.
While the retina takes in the visual information and converts it into signals, the optic nerve delivers these signals to the brain. Glaucoma occurs due to the damage caused to the optic nerve by the increased pressure inside the eye.
Types of glaucoma:
1. Open angle glaucoma:
This type of glaucoma develops slowly and gradually damages the optic nerve leading to loss of vision. There may be little to no symptoms but this is very dangerous.
2. Closed angle glaucoma:
This type of glaucoma develops suddenly and leads to abrupt loss of vision. This is an emergency condition for which medical attention should be sought immediately.
- There is extreme pain in the eye
- The eye turns red
- One sees rings around lights
- Vision becomes blurred
Early detection of glaucoma is very important for its effective treatment. This is because nerves cannot repair or grow back. So the damage done to the optic nerve is irreversible. Medications slow down the progression of this disease.
5. Retinitis pigmentosa:
This is a rare genetic disease that affects the retina of the eye. Retinitis pigmentosa leads to loss of the peripheral vision of the eye. Only a small amount of central vision remains and this leads to tunnel-vision.
People suffering from this eye disease can see large letters but their field of vision becomes so small that they are effectively blind.
While many of these eye diseases are age related and beyond our control, yet we can improve our chances by taking care of our body. Through proper nutrition, protecting our eyes from sunlight, avoiding harmful habits like smoking and taking general care to not hurt our eyes, we can prevent or at least delay the onset of many of these problems.
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