Did you know that the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) estimates that more than 43 million Americans will eventually develop eye diseases? The most common eye problems are either refractive errors of the eyes or are age-related diseases. However, your daily habits can determine if you are at risk of developing eye diseases or not. Macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other eye diseases can be avoided or controlled with the right help. See your eye doctor today to have your eyes checked and learn more about how you can prevent the most common eye diseases.
It may seem obvious, but even if your vision is clear and healthy scheduling yearly eye exams must be high on your priority list. Routine visits give your eye care professional an opportunity to assess eye health and discover conditions that could threaten your good vision such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other vision disorders. Early detection can save your eyesight!
Common eye conditions can progress into real issues if they aren’t treated early on. Refractive errors of the eyes are the most common eye problems out there. Often referred to as “nearsightedness”, “farsightedness” and “astigmatism”, these refractive errors can be easily treated when caught. 42% of people have nearsightedness, a condition that makes objects appear clearly up close, but blurry when far away.
The opposite condition from nearsightedness is farsightedness. This refractive error allows you to see far away but not close up. Fewer people have farsightedness than nearsightedness, but both conditions result from how your eye manages light when it directly focuses on your retina (the part of the eye that helps interpret images.)
Light will focus before it hits your retina with nearsightedness, and light will focus behind the retina with farsightedness. Astigmatism is a mixture of these two conditions; you get blurry vision because light focuses at two different places, due to a rugby-shaped eyeball.
All of these eye problems develop over time and can be corrected with glasses, contacts, and surgery.
Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss for individuals over the age of 40. According to Prevent Blindness America, worldwide, there are more people suffering from this lens-clouding condition than glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy combined.
There are four things you can do to help prevent cataracts. They are:
Limit alcohol and cigarette use. Research shows that smoking and alcohol use increase your risk of cataracts, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Wear sunglasses. Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure increases your risk of developing cataracts.
Watch your diet. Those with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cataracts. Balancing your blood sugar is worth the effort for retaining your good vision. A diet rich in leafy greens helps you receive vital nutrients for eye health. Vitamin supplements can help you receive the nutrients that help fight against cataracts such as beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamins C and E.
Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in patients and it’s irreversible. It affects more than 10 million Americans alone. The retina helps you to see. The retina’s central area (the macula) is tasked with focusing central vision. It controls our ability to read, drive and recognize colors and faces (along with many other abilities). Macular degeneration is the loss of your central field of vision. Your retina tissue has many light-sensitive cells. The macula is the part of the retina with the most light-sensitive cells. This part of your eye stops working or is damaged by blue light over time, making it so those light-sensitive cells don’t work.
A gray spot in the center of your vision will continually increase without treatment. You can have age-related macular degeneration that is genetic. The onset us around age 55 or older. Or, you can develop macular with too much blue or ultraviolet-light exposure. Always wear protective sunglasses when outside and use computer glasses (that block blue light rays) when using electronic or smart devices.
Did you know that certain diseases and conditions can affect your vision? If you have diabetes (either type), make sure to be extra vigilant about watching for changes in your vision. High blood sugar levels in your body damage blood vessels, especially in your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that those blood vessels can leak, swell or even close, stopping your blood flow. This will eventually cause you to go blind.
You can keep diabetic retinopathy under control if you see your eye doctor frequently. Even though the American Optometric Association recommends seeing your eye doctor every 2 years, people with this condition should see their eye doctor 1 or more times a year. Your doctor can monitor your vision and provide the right treatment and prescriptions to save your vision.
Glaucoma is also a major eye disease that leads to irreversible blindness if left untreated. This is the term given to a group of eye problems that damage the optic nerve. Some forms of glaucoma come on suddenly and some come on overtime. This eye condition isn’t painful and often has no symptoms. 5% of people over 65 get it. You can stop glaucoma progression if you visit the eye doctor often. They can see your delicate eye tissues changing before blurry vision or blindness progresses. Surgery, medicines and laser trabeculoplasty can all help glaucoma.
Seeing the eye doctor is vital to preventing common eye diseases and stopping their progression. See your eye doctor at least every 2 years if your eyes are healthy. Come visit us every year if you already have vision problems. If it has been some time since your last eye exam, call Optical Masters today at (720) 780-8881!