Do you know the leading cause of blindness or low vision is age-related diseases?
Blindness is one of the most debilitating conditions a person can suffer from. It not only robs them of their sight but also their independence and ability to lead a normal life.
Globally, around 2.2 billion people suffer from vision impairment, and around 1 billion vision impairment cases could have been prevented or are yet to be addressed. Luckily, by proper awareness and education, and taking preventive measures, the rate of blindness or vision loss can be lowered.
While there are many causes of blindness, ranging from genetic disorders to accidents, let’s explore a few common ones.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
One of the most common causes of blindness is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which impacts around 11 million people in the USA. It is a gradual degradation of the macula, a person’s central vision.
There are two types of AMD, i.e, dry and wet. Dry AMD leads to gradual vision impairment (around 90% of people have dry AMD) and most people don’t completely lose the central vision. While wet AMD is more severe as it can cause rapid vision loss, and can also lead to complete loss of central vision.
A combination of vitamins and other supplements can reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Surgery is also an option to treat macular degeneration. However, while treatment surely helps, this condition can’t be cured completely.
Glaucoma is another leading cause of blindness and is caused by an increase in pressure in the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve, which carries signals from the eye to the brain.
Glaucoma can be of multiple types and depending on the type of glaucoma it can be painful or painless. The damage that is caused by glaucoma is irreversible, which makes it extremely important to diagnose it early and start the treatment as soon as possible. To be precise, Glaucoma can be treated with medication or surgery, but if it is not caught early, it can lead to permanent blindness.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which can affect your vision. In normal eyes, the light passes through the lens to the retina which then transforms into the image. Whereas in the case of cataracts, the lens loses transparency, which is why the light is blocked and the image gets distorted.
A cataract is a very common eye problem. More than 50% of Americans age 80 are either suffering from cataracts or have had surgery to get rid of it.
A cataract makes the vision blurry, less colorful, or hazy. A few common causes of cataracts include diabetes, injuries, genetics, and more.
Trachoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. It is an eye infection caused by the bacteria named Bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis and can make the inner surface of the eyelids rough.
Trachoma is contagious and mostly affects both eyes. Moreover, it is responsible for the visual impairment and blindness of around 1.9 million people. Blindness caused due to Trachoma is irreversible.
Diabetic retinopathy is a debilitating eye condition that can lead to blindness. It causes vision loss in people with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults 20-74 years old. There is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, but it can be treated with laser surgery, injections, or a combination of the two. Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing vision loss.
Uncorrected refractive errors
Uncorrected refractive errors are a leading cause of visual impairment and blindness worldwide. The four most common types of refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia. It happens when the cornea changes shape, when the eyeball enlarges or reduces in length, or simply with age.
If left uncorrected, refractive errors can cause a number of problems, including headaches, eyestrain, and difficulty reading or participating in other activities. Refractive errors can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Corneal opacity is a condition in which the clear, front surface of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. It can occur in one or both eyes and can range from mild to severe.
Corneal opacity can be caused by a number of factors, including injury, disease, or a genetic condition. Treatment for corneal opacity depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, the condition can be reversed.
Now that you know the causes of blindness, take preventive measures to make sure it does not lead to blindness.
Remember, your eyes are precious. Take care of your eyesight before it’s too late.