Vision impairment continues to be a major dilemma the world over. Still, over 80% of all cases of eye conditions can be reversed, or even prevented in the first place. Even though treatments are available for many cases of vision loss, those treatments may not be readily available for some. These are the five major causes of visual impairment. Here is how each of those causes affects the eyes and what can be done in response.
Uncorrected Refractive Errors (URE)
If a refractive error isn’t corrected, or not corrected adequately, it can cause vision to worsen over time.Refractive errors include nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), a misshapen curvature of the eye (astigmatism), or farsightedness that is usually caused by age (presbyopia). Prevention of further problems due to any of these ailments is to correct vision through the use of glasses or contact lenses. Laser surgery may also be an option for some.
A Cataract That Has Yet to Be Operated On
Cataracts are one of the most common causes of blindness. A cataract that is not removed can not only impair your vision but lead to complete loss of sight. Over 50% of cases of total blindness are due to cataracts. There haven’t been any prevention methods found over the years, but surgery will allow the person affected to regain sight, even if not completely and prevent complete blindness.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
As we age, our vision can be impacted, which is why age-related macular degeneration is such a prevalent cause of vision impairment in those aged 50 and over. Damage to the macula, over time, can make it difficult to see objects directly in front of the person affected, making them appear blurry or even dark. While there are other factors that can worsen the effects of age-related vision loss, such as smoking or genetics, the biggest factor continues to be age. Certain supplements, as well as surgery, are the only known treatments currently.
Glaucoma causes high pressures within the eye itself which can lead to damage to the nerves that connect the eye to the brain. Even blood vessels within the eye can be affected. Those with glaucoma may experience a slow progression of the eye disease or their vision can be affected quicker. Treatments for glaucoma usually involve eye drops to help reduce the pressure, medications that work similarly, as well as surgery.
The high blood sugar levels that those with diabetes experience can cause damage to blood vessels within the eye. The most damage occurs within the retina. These blood vessels can change due to diabetes, especially if the disease is uncontrolled. Controlled blood sugar remains the best way to prevent diabetic retinopathy. By preventing the damage to your eyes in the first place by managing blood sugar, you can reduce the risk of encountering visual impairment or blindness.
Whether you have a common eye problem you may have had since childhood or something that has progressed over time, it is important for the impairment to be corrected. Wearing glasses or eye contacts can help to improve vision, making it easier to go about daily life. Correcting vision is the first goal of any optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. If you need eye contacts, Hannah recommends Discover Vision Centers.
INFOGRAPHIC: Common Eye Disorders