Has your doctor recently told you that you may have glaucoma? Or that you need cataract surgery? Unfortunately, as you age, there are certain vision problems you my develop. The good news is, if you understand what these are, you can take preventative steps and ensure you get the treatment needed. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common eye diseases that develop as you age.
AMD – Age-Related Macular Degeneration
This is a condition that affects your macula. This is a tiny part of the eye found close to the center of the retina. It’s responsible for sharp central vision.
If you suffer from AMD, you are going to find it challenging to handle detail-oriented tasks, such as driving, writing, reading, and being able to identify various shades of colors. Another sign of this condition is shadowy, fuzzy, or distorted central vision.
In a recent study, there were four factors that stood out regarding who was most at risk for developing AMD including history of smoking, family history, age, and the person’s race (Caucasians were more likely to develop this condition). There are also two types of AMD including wet and dry, with each one having a unique treatment.
It is possible to detect the early signs of AMD and to slow down its progression by undergoing a comprehensive retinal exam.
If your eyes are healthy, the lenses will be flexible and mainly clear. As you get older, the lenses are going to become less flexible and the cloudy areas may cover the whole lens found inside your eye. When this happens, it means you have developed cataracts.
It’s estimated that approximately 50 percent of all Americans will develop this condition by the time they reach the age of 75. Some of the earliest signs of cataracts include blurred or cloudy vision, colors that aren’t as vivid as they once were, and poor night vision.
The only way to remove cataracts is with lens replacement surgery. This involves your doctor making a small incision where the natural lens is removed, and an artificial lens is put in.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Also called diabetic retinopathy, this condition occurs because of damaged blood vessels in the retina in individuals who have diabetes. This occurs when the blood vessels either leak fluid or bleed. If this problem isn’t controlled, it can lead to permanent vision loss.
Nerve damage that affects the muscles that control your eyes may also be present. Some of the symptoms of this include involuntary eye movements and double vision.
If you are suffering from the early stages of diabetic eye disease, you can control the condition by getting your cholesterol and blood sugar levels within normal ranges. You may also require vitrectomy surgery or laser treatment.
This condition is a collective term that’s used for a group of related eye disorders or damages to your optic nerve. It is responsible for transmitting information from your eyes to your brain.
Glaucoma is classified as being narrow-angle or open angle. In some cases, open-angle glaucoma won’t have any real symptoms and your vision will remain normal. Most glaucoma cases will involve pressure levels in the eyes that are higher and normal within the eye, which causes a loss of peripheral vision. Some of the symptoms of peripheral vision loss include issues navigating while walking or issues navigating.
Doctors can diagnose glaucoma through a comprehensive dilated exam. Treatment is aimed at reducing the total amount of fluid that is produced by the eye or working to increase the total amount of fluid that drains out of the eye.
In addition to aging, another risk of glaucoma is race, as African Americans are at a higher risk of this condition. Also, individuals who have a family history of this condition.
Knowing Your Risk
Are you at risk for any of the conditions listed here? If so, it’s a good idea to seek help from your eye doctor. Unfortunately, eye disease is a common occurrence as people age, so taking a proactive stance and getting ahead of the problems is the best way to ensure they don’t significantly, negatively impact your life. By staying ahead of the problems, you can feel confident you’ll have the treatment needed to prevent any serious issues.