Common Eye Conditions that Can Lead to Blindness
Vision loss and blindness can come in many formed. The primary goal at our Chicago eye care and vision correction practice is to ensure patients have good eyesight well into their golden years. That's why we want to consider for common causes of blindness that millions of Americans have to deal with.
Many of the below eye conditions are related to the natural aging process and other common factors. Regular eye exams are an important part of detecting these conditions in their earliest stages, and treating these conditions soon to prevent major vision loss. Be sure to undergo regular eye exams, particularly if you are at risk for any of the following conditions.
Cataracts are a familiar cause of vision loss. The condition involves the clouding of the naturally clear lenses of the eyes, leading to blurry, foggy, or hazy vision. Cataracts are most commonly associated with advanced age, UV ray exposure, and physical trauma to the eyes. According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in non-developed countries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 20.5 million Americans who are age 40 or older have a cataract in one eye or both eyes.
Thankfully, cataracts can easily be treated and vision restored. Most cataracts in early stages of development do not need surgical removal at all. For more advanced cataracts, a routine surgery can be performed to remove the clouded lens of the eye.
Glaucoma is a form of permanent and irreversible vision loss that is caused by pressure building up within the eye. This press causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to the loss of vision. There are two kinds of glaucoma: open angle (most common) and closed angle. It's been estimated that 2 million Americans suffer from glaucoma.
As noted above, glaucoma is irreversible, but treatments can be performed to help reduce or stop the progression of vision loss. Medications can help reduce the pressure within the eye, and lifestyle changes can also improve general wellness and reduce intraocular pressure. More advanced therapies may be considered for later stages of glaucoma.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular degeneration is another type of age-related vision loss. The condition affects the macula, which is the central portion of the retina. As the macula breaks down, so does central vision. It's been estimated that 1.8 million Americans who are age 40 or older suffer from either wet or dry macular degeneration. In addition, more than 7 million Americans are at risk for developing maculr degeneration.
Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
There are no known treatment options for dry macular degeneration. Patients are often asked to improve their lifestyles and take certain vitamins to help manage the condition. Wet macular degeneration can be treated to varying degrees through laser surgery and the use of anti-VEGF drugs.
People with diabetes can suffer from a number of different health problems related to their condition. One particular issue is vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy, which involves problems with the blood vessels of the retinas. Around 4.1 million American experience diabetic retinopathy in various stages of development. The longer a person has had diabetes, the more likely they are to suffer from vision loss.
Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
Treating diabetic retinopathy can be tricky. In early stages of the condition, the vision loss can be slowed through proper monitoring of one's diabetes and good health and lifestyle choices. As the condition progresses, common treatments include use of anti-VEGF drugs, vitrectomy, and laser surgery.
Contact Primary Eye Care Associates
If you would like to learn more about the treatment and prevention of vision loss, be sure to contact our advanced eye care center today. Here at Primary Eye Care Associates, we will help diagnose potential eye disorders and help prevent blindness.