Most Americans may not be aware of vision loss because they are nearsighted. According to a recent survey, nearly half of all Americans worry more about going blind than losing their memory, or their ability to hear or walk. Yet almost 30% of those surveyed said they don’t get their eyes checked.
We will discuss some of the common eye diseases and ways to detect them in the following slides. There are milder conditions, such as pink eye, as well as more serious conditions that can lead to vision loss, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Listed below are some of the most common symptoms of eye ailments.
Anatomy of the Eye
An eye is a complex structure. Among its main parts are:
- Cornea: the clear tissue in the front of the eye
- The iris surrounds the pupil of the eye and is colored
- Pupil: dark hole in the iris that regulates how much light enters the eye
- A lens is a clear disk inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina
- Retina: layer lining the back of the eye that senses light and creates electrical impulses that reach the brain through the optic nerve
- A macula is a small central area in our retina that allows us to see fine details clearly
- It carries electrical impulses formed by the retina to the visual cortex of the brain from the eye.
- In the middle of the eye there is a clear, jelly-like substance called vitreous
All of these components can be involved in eye problems. You can refer to this illustration as you read through this article.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases characterized by an increase in pressure within the eye. This affects the optic nerve and may lead to vision loss. There are two main types of Glaucoma. They are open-angle, which is more common and appears more gradually, and angle-closure, which occurs suddenly and is painful. If left untreated, either type can lead to vision problems and blindness.
Often, there are no symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma. The damage to vision has already been done by the time it affects vision. Eye drops, laser treatments, or surgery can slow or stop the progression of glaucoma. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better.
African-Americans, the elderly, and those with a family history of glaucoma are at increased risk.
Among seniors, cataracts are a common eye problem that can result in vision problems and vision loss. Cataracts are cloudy lenses in the eye that cause blurry vision.
As we age, the process slows down. By the middle of their 70s, most people will have some cataract-like changes on their cornea. The most common causes of cataracts are aging, diabetes, trauma, some medications, and excessive exposure to UV light.
During a routine eye exam, your doctor may discover a cataract. The most common cataract treatments are eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, and surgery. An artificial lens is substituted for the cloudy lens after surgery. Your eye doctor should discuss the risks and necessity of surgery with you.