There are an unbelievable number of different eye diseases and vision issues that need to be addressed, but knowing which ones are the most common is something we could all do with investing our time in! Specific levels of vision impairment can vary depending on the individual, so here we’re going to go through the most commonly reported eye conditions you should have some basic awareness of.
Refractive errors include conditions such as hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia (losing the ability to focus up close – reading, for example) and astigmatism (distortion of vision at all distances). A refractive error of the eye means that the shape of the eye does not bend light as correctly as it should, resulting in a blurred or distorted image.
Macular degeneration is a disorder of the eye which is strongly associated with the aging process and usually results in damage to central or sharp vision. Central vision is required for clearly identifying objects and for regular tasks such as driving and reading. Macular degeneration affects the central part of the retina that only allows the eye to see the finest details, otherwise known as the macular.
The condition can take one of two forms: either wet or dry. Wet macular degeneration is when an abnormal blood vessel behind your retina starts to grow underneath the macular, consequently leading to fluid and blood leakage. An initial symptom of wet macular degeneration could be when straight lines start to appear wavier.
Dry macular degeneration happens when the macular gradually thins itself overtime as part of the process of aging, leading to a gradual blurring of vision. This dry form is much more common. Over a period of time, as the function of the macula decreases, central vision becomes steadily lost in the eye that is affected.
A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye, and a leading cause of blindness globally. Cataracts can occur at any given age due to a variety of causes, so is an eye condition that is always worth monitoring for amongst the wider population.
Glaucoma is a collective group of diseases that can potentially damage the optic nerve of the eye and result in blindness or vision loss. Glaucoma will usually occur when the pressure of the normal fluid inside the eyes begin to slowly rise. However, recent studies have shown that glaucoma can also occur if the pressure in the eye is normal. When treatment takes place as early as possible, you can actually protect your eyes against very serious vision loss.
With glaucoma there are two potential categories that the condition fits into: open angle or closed angle. Open angle is a condition that progresses slowly over a period of time without an individual noticing potential vision loss until the disease has substantially advanced. Angle closure, on the other hand, can appear painfully and suddenly. Vision loss can progress rapidly here, but the discomfort and pain from the condition can also lead patients to seek initial medical attention before more damage is inflicted.
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