Protecting Your Vision
With more than 4.2 million Americans aged 40 years or older classified as legally blind, supporting strong eye health and vision has never been more important. Eye diseases develop and affect patients in a variety of ways, sometimes without them even noticing at first.
Eye diseases can be caused by other health conditions, such as diabetes, certain lifestyles, or factors like age. It’s common for these diseases to show little to no warning signs as they start to damage the eye. This means regular eye exams are one of the only ways to identify eye disease early.
The Risk of Eye Diseases
Many forms of eye disease pose a serious risk to eye and vision health. Since the eye is made up of extremely delicate components, it can easily be damaged. Once damaged, patients may experience partial vision loss or complete blindness.
Areas that are often targeted by eye diseases include the:
To ensure your eye health and vision are getting the care they need, regular eye exams are crucial. If you have a health condition like diabetes, we recommend you come in for more frequent and specialized eye exams.
Common Eye Diseases
Although there are many different eye diseases, here are a few common ones to be aware of. If these conditions run in your family, it’s important to know you may be at risk of developing them.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that targets your eye’s optic nerve. As the optic nerve is responsible for transferring information from the retina to the brain, damage to the optic nerve can cause vision loss. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in patients over 60.
It’s common for some kinds of glaucoma to show little to no symptoms as they develop. Regular eye exams are the best way to identify glaucoma early. If diagnosed early, glaucoma can be managed, limiting optic nerve damage and vision loss.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in people over 60. The disease occurs when the eye’s macula (the central part of the retina) starts to wear down. There are 2 different types of AMD: wet and dry.
Dry AMD is caused by drusen deposits building up in the macula. As the deposits collect, they can make it hard for the eye to focus on objects clearly and can cause blind spots. Over time, patients with dry AMD can eventually lose their central vision.
Wet AMD most frequently occurs after dry AMD. This happens when blood vessels break under your macula and leak fluid into your retina. This fluid causes blurred vision and blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy & Diabetic Macular Edema
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by the effects of diabetes on the eye’s blood vessels. As diabetes causes irregular blood sugar levels, the eye’s blood vessels may become blocked and break. If broken, they can leak fluid into the retina (diabetic retinopathy) and then into the macula (diabetic macular edema).