Sudden blindness is a huge concern for many people, as are eye diseases that cause blindness over time. Regular comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist are crucial to pinpoint these conditions and to monitor their progression. That will ensure your eyes get the treatment they need at a fast timeline.
So, what are the most common eye issues that lead to vision loss? Let’s take a look.
4 Eye Diseases That Cause Blindness
Many things can affect your vision, from refractive errors to eye diseases. Since eye diseases can lead to temporary or permanent vision loss, without proper treatment, understanding what to expect is paramount.
Here are four eye diseases that cause blindness:
AMD happens due to issues within the macula, a tiny part of the retina found behind the eye. As one of the top eye diseases that cause blindness, AMD affects the eyesight of more adults above age 50 than any other condition.
There are two types of AMD, including atrophic and exudative. Roughly 90 percent of people with AMD have the atrophic version, which can cause scarring in the macula. Exudative AMD happens when liquids disperse from the retina.
Atrophic AMD affects your central vision over time, whereas exudative AMD can cause a faster loss of eyesight. While there is no one way to fix AMD, some research has indicated a link between antioxidants and a decrease in the likelihood of getting AMD, though more research is needed on the topic.
Cataracts are foggy-colored spots in your eye lenses that prevent light from directing to the right place. This can lead to issues with your eyesight, making it one of the most challenging eye problems. Adults ages 55 and above have a higher chance of getting cataracts, but they can happen in young people, too.
The type of cataract you have depends on where it’s found in each eye lens. There are three primary cataracts, including nuclear (occurs in the middle of the eye lens), cortical (impacts the area around the nucleus), and posterior capsular (happens on the back, outside part of the eye lens). Posterior capsular cataracts usually grow faster than other types of cataracts.
While there’s no sure method to decrease the development of cataracts, a visit to your eye doctor is a great way to start and to come up with a plan for treatment. The American Optometric Association (AOA) also suggests protecting your eyes with sunglasses while you’re outside and eating more antioxidant-rich foods.
Diabetes can hurt the tiny blood vessels in your retina and other parts of your body, leading to diabetic retinopathy. A sign of this eye disease is liquids coming out of the retina’s blood vessels. Inflammation can occur in the retina after the secretions come out, which can cause blurry vision.
The two forms of diabetic retinopathy include non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). People who first get diabetic retinopathy may have NPDR, which comes with little to no symptoms except for macular inflammation or worn-out blood vessels.
PDR is more severe and prevents the retina from getting adequate oxygen. This prompts new blood vessels to develop, which can seep out blood and affect your vision. Whether you have NPDR or PDR, your eye doctor can work with you to treat your condition.
Glaucoma is an eye disease known for harming the optic nerve. Without treatment, it can cause you to lose your eyesight. Usually, the reason for glaucoma is excessive pressure within your eyes, but people with normal eye pressure can get glaucoma, too.
Many individuals with glaucoma have primary open-angle glaucoma, which can lack apparent symptoms at first. It’s common not to know you have glaucoma until your vision is impaired. Even though glaucoma is one of the primary eye diseases that cause blindness, it may just impact your peripheral or central vision, depending on the severity of your condition.
There are also other kinds of glaucoma, including acute angle-closure glaucoma. If you have elevated eye pressure and experience any form of eye pain or redness, you may have this condition and will want to consult an eye doctor right away. Glaucoma may not be avoidable, but your optometrist can recommend multiple solutions to help with your symptoms of vision loss.
Summary: Main Causes of Blindness
Knowing the primary eye diseases that cause blindness can help you make the best decisions for your eye care. Some conditions to watch for include AMD, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.
Some of these conditions can impair your eyesight over time, while others may be more sudden. To find out the best blindness treatment, we recommend speaking with a qualified Independent Doctor of Optometry at one of our many locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Our team looks forward to meeting with you and helping you overcome any obstacles with your vision, including as a result of eye diseases.
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