Macular degeneration is an eye disease that occurs when there are changes to the macula. This disease reduces central vision and makes objects and details straight ahead difficult or impossible to see. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among people over 50.
Signs and Symptons of Macular Degeneration:
- Gradual lose of ability to see objects clearly
- Objects appear to be distorted in shape and straight lines appear wavy or crooked
- A loss of clear color vision
- A dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision
(Early stages of macular degeneration may not be noticeable, so regular eye examinations are important in early detection.)
Glaucoma is an eye disease where the internal fluid pressure of the eye rises to a point that the optic nerve is damaged. The pressure that builds up is commonly due to inadequate drainage of fluid normally produced in your eyes. In the US, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Glaucoma most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, so it is particularly important to have regular optometric examinations for those over the age of 35. If diagnosed at an early stage, glaucoma can often be managed and little or no further vision loss may occur. But if left untreated, first peripheral vision and then central vision will be affected and blindness may result.
Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma:
- Hazy or blurred vision
- The appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights
- Severe eye and head pain
- Nausea or vomiting (accompanying severe eye pain)
- Sudden sight loss
Cataract development is when the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy or opaque. Cataracts range from extremely small areas of cloudiness to large opaque areas that cause a noticeable loss of vision. They usually have a slow development that comes without pain. If a cataract develops to a point that your daily activities are affected, you will be referred to an eye surgeon who may recommend the surgical removal of the cataract. Surgery is relatively uncomplicated and has an excellent success rate. Some cataracts never progress to the point of needing to be removed. There are prescribed changes that can be made to your eyewear to help you see more clearly until surgery is necessary
Some indications that a cataract may be forming include:
- Blurred or hazy vision
- Decreased color perception
- The feeling of having a film over the eyes
Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye. It can cause changes in nearsightedness and farsightedness. Cataracts, glaucoma, strabismus (a lack of eye alignment) and decreased corneal sensitivity can result from diabetes.
Visual Symptoms of Diabetes:
- Fluctuating or blurring of vision
- Occasional double vision
- Night vision problems
- Flashes and floaters within the eye
The most serious eye problem association with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is a weakening or swelling of the tiny blood vessels in the retina of your eye, resulting in blood leakage, the growth of new blood vessels and other changes. If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, blindness can result. Vision loss from diabetes can be prevented with a routine eye examination. However, once damage has occurred, the effects are usually permanent.
Factors that increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy:
- Poor control of diabetes
- High blood pressure
If you monitor and control your diabetes it could lower your risk of developing diabetic reinopathy by as much as 76%.