Vision loss is more common than you may think! In fact, it's among the most prevalent disabilities in adults and children. Knowing what puts you at risk of developing vision loss is important and can help you to be proactive about caring for your eyes.
Below, we’ll explore the most common causes of vision loss and the risk factors associated with each.
Spreading awareness and education about visual health is just one way that our eye doctors near you can help. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.
Common Causes of Vision Loss
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases commonly caused by an increase of pressure within the eye. As the pressure increases, there is damage to the optic nerve which leads to vision loss.
Since symptoms don't usually manifest in the early stages of glaucoma, getting regular eye exams is all the more crucial. A much less common version of acute or rapidly progressing glaucoma can show a variety of symptoms, including blurred vision, headache, severe eye pain and redness, seeing halos around lights, and nausea. Acute glaucoma is a true emergency!
Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:
- Being 60 years or older
- Family history of glaucoma
- African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- High myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Previous eye injury or certain eye surgeries
- Certain medications, such as corticosteroids
- Thin cornea (surface of the eye)
- Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and sickle-cell anemia
Cataracts occur when the crystalline lens within the eye becomes cloudy.
Common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, double vision in the affected eye, and seeing colours as faded or yellowish.
Risk factors for developing cataracts include:
- Previous eye surgery, injury, or inflammation
- Extended use of corticosteroids
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. It occurs when the macula (the small central portion of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, colourful, central vision) gradually becomes damaged.
Early stages of AMD usually go unnoticed, but later stages of the disease can produce symptoms like blurred vision, dark or blurry areas in your central vision, and problems with colour perception.
There’s not yet a cure for AMD, but certain treatments can help to slow down vision loss.
Risk factors for developing AMD include:
- Long-term sun exposure
- Heart disease
- Family history of AMD
- Light-colored eyes
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes that affects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina.
Initially, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms but can eventually lead to blindness. As it develops, it can cause increased floaters, impaired colour vision, dark spots in your visual field, and blurred vision.
Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:
- Length of time from diabetes diagnosis — the longer you’ve had it, the higher your chances of developing visual complications
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- High cholesterol or blood pressure
- African American, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities
- Family history of Diabetic Retinopathy
So, what’s the bottom line ?
Multiple factors contribute to eye disease and vision loss, and some may be relevant to you. If you think you may be at risk for vision loss or experience any of the symptoms listed above, speak with your eye doctor in New Hamburg as soon as possible. We also recommend you have your eyes thoroughly examined every 1-2 years, or as often as your eye doctor recommends. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Dolman Eyecare Centre today.
Frequently Asked Questions With Our New Hamburg Eye Doctors
- Can blindness be prevented?
When caught early, many eye diseases can be treated to halt or slow the progression of the disease and potentially prevent vision loss. The best things you can do to preserve your vision for the long term is to lead a healthy lifestyle and make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years.
- Which eye diseases are genetically inherited?
More than 350 ocular diseases have some sort of genetic component. Certain diseases, like Retinitis Pigmentosa are directly inherited through chromosomal information. In other cases, a predisposition to the disease is inherited, rather than the disease itself.