Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the US.
It is caused by changes in the macula, the part of the retina responsible for clear vision.
As this condition advances, a distorted, dark or empty space appears in the center of view, as in the image to the right.
Contact your eye doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
After age 60 the American Optometric Association recommends an annual comprehensive eye examination.
A cataract is the clouding of all or part of your eye’s lens. Your lens is normally clear. See your eye doctor if you think you may have cataracts.
This condition is most often found in people over 55 but can occur in younger individuals.
The cause of cataracts is not known but the cloudy lens is a result of a chemical change in the eye. This may be due to age, heredity, injury or disease.
If you have cataracts, your eye doctor will be able to discuss treatment options with you.
Cataracts can be removed by an eye surgeon by replacing your eye’s lens with an artificial lens.
Diabetic retinopathy is one of many health problems that can be caused by diabetes.
This eye disease is caused by the leaking, swelling or branching of the small blood vessels in the retina.
As diabetic retinopathy progresses, you may notice your vision is cloudy and you might develop blind spots or floaters.
Left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
Have your eyes examined regularly, especially if you or a family member has diabetes.
Laser and other eye surgery can slow the progress of the disease and decrease the risk of blindness. However, early treatment is important.
If you have diabetes, follow your doctors advice and get regular eye examinations.
Glaucoma is caused by an increase in the internal pressure of the eye.
The increase in pressure can damage the fibers in your optic nerve.
This pressure occurs when the passages in your eye that normally drain fluid become blocked or clogged.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the US.
Glaucoma can not be prevented but it can be controlled through treatment if it is diagnosed early.
The American Optometric Association recommends that you have yearly examinations if you are at risk of glaucoma.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition of the retina where the cells called rods degenerate over time.
This is a condition that is inherited from your parents.
As the disease progresses, individuals lose their ability to see in low light conditions and over time they may lose their peripheral vision.
See your eye doctor if you think you have retinitis pigmentosa or if you have a family history of this disease
Information courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.