The eyes are important organs that allow us to take in the outside world. Vision health is of the utmost importance, so it's good to learn more about the different disorders than can affect it. Here, you will find a list of some of the most common issues people have with their eyes and how to identify each:
When the lens of an eye becomes clouded, it is known as a cataract. This often results in blurred vision, as light has trouble traveling to the back of the eye.1 Cataracts generally progress over time, making them more common in seniors. Once these become large enough to disrupt one's vision, most eye doctors will recommend surgical removal. The good news is, once a cataract is removed, your vision should return to normal.
As the optic nerve begins to deteriorate, a patient may develop glaucoma, which can lead to a loss of vision. Generally, those who experience this problem will have suffered an eye injury or infection that caused the problem. At annual eye appointments, the optometrist will likely test you for glaucoma, so it's important to keep up to date with your visits. Traditional methods for treatment include drops and surgery.
3. Age-related macular degeneration
Another vision issue that elderly individuals may be faced with is AMD. As the eyes age, the macula may begin to deteriorate. This is an important part of the retina, which means damage to it can cause impaired central vision. Wet AMD causes leakage as blood and fluid builds up under the macula, while dry AMD results in light sensitivity in the eyes, which can be treated with antioxidants and zinc if caught early. If vision loss results due to AMD, there is currently no treatment for restoration.2
Also known as lazy eye, amblyopia is a common vision disorder experienced by children. This occurs when one of the eyes is not working together correctly with the brain. As a result, the healthy eye is favored by the brain, causing the lazy eye not to follow along. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2 percent to 3 percent of the population has been diagnosed with amblyopia.3 However, the good news is that if treated during childhood, the issue should not carry into adulthood.
5. Diabetic retinopathy
Those who suffer from diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy (DR). This vision issue can lead to blindness and is (in fact) the most common cause of loss of vision among adults in the U.S. As blood vessels in the eyes become damaged, vision begins to deteriorate. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent vision loss, making it imperative for diabetics to schedule regular visits with their opticians.
1 WebMD, "Common eye problems" November 5, 2013
2 MedicineNet.com, "Eye diseases pictures slideshow: Recognize these common eye conditions" August 3, 2011
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Common eye disorders" April 23, 2013