What Are the Leading Causes of Loss of Vision?
Vision loss does not have to mean that you’re legally blind. The medical definition of vision loss is a person who is no longer able to see as they once did. There are different reasons that the vision can fade, and while some would accredit it to age, that is not the main cause or factor. There are people that are very young with no vision and those that are old with perfect vision.
Maintaining proper eye care is the first and most important step to assuring that you can keep your eyesight as long as possible. This includes eating right, letting your eyes rest, wearing protective gear when necessary, and of course going to the eye doctor for an exam at least every two years. Below are the four most common causes of vision loss in the US.
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Typically in Caucasians over the age of 50, this is one of the leading causes of irreversible yet several vision loss. AMD is a condition that can increase in severity with age. It is caused by damage to the macula which is located in the center part of the retina. The macula is responsible for people being able to see details. While the damage to the central vision is significant and can be severe, this condition very rarely causes complete blindness in adults.
Ranked as the second leading cause of blindness in the US today, Glaucoma is typically a condition found in African Americans. This is a medical disease in which the pressure in the eye is so extreme that it begins to damage the optic nerve which in time leads to loss of vision. Most who suffer from Glaucoma state that it causes issues within the side vision will before central vision is affected. While this disease cannot be prevented, there are ways that it can be controlled and/or stopped with the right treatment options and medication.
This is a medical condition that is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. It is only found in patients suffering from diabetes. This is ranked as one of the top leading causes for severe vision loss in older adults. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater their chances are for developing diabetic retinopathy. Studies conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology show that about 80% of patients that suffer from diabetes for at least 15 years have experienced some damage to the retina.
Last of the leading causes of vision loss in the US is cataracts. This is when the lens of the eye becomes clouded when it should be clear. This means that light has a more difficult time traveling through the lens which makes vision much more blurred or hazy. Currently there is a safe treatment option which requires surgery. It is a procedure that will remove the lens and replace it with an intraocular (manmade) lens.
Of course there are other conditions that can lead to significant vision loss. If you have a history of these in your family, consult with your eye doctor and express your concerns.