Are You Worried You’re Losing Your Vision?
If you’re worried you’re losing your vision, you’re certainly not alone. In the U.S., the CDC reports that 61 million adults are considered to have a high risk of serious loss of vision, but half haven’t seen their eye doctor for at least 12 months. Seniors have a 25% chance of experiencing vision loss.
While the thought of partial or complete blindness is frightening for anyone, the outlook in most case is far more positive than you may realize. Eye diseases are the cause of almost all (96%) blindness in the U.S., but are normally treatable. Even if a condition can’t be completely cured, treatment typically slows the progression of the disease.
Don’t wait for an eye problem to clear up by itself. The waiting is stressful while, at the same time, your problem could be becoming more serious. It’s better to be proactive by scheduling an appointment with Florida Eye, receiving a diagnosis and beginning treatment.
Sudden Vision Loss
Sudden blindness, either total or partial, can occur in one or both eyes. The vision loss might only last a few seconds or minutes but could continue for hours. Without treatment, there’s always a chance your vision could be lost permanently. Call your eye doctor immediately.
Common Causes of Vision Loss
Some of the most common causes of vision loss are shown below. It’s important to realize that total blindness often begins with partial loss of vision which worsens over time. Regular eye examinations help you protect your vision by finding any developing problems early.
Cataracts are so common in older people that it’s been said almost everyone will get cataracts if they live long enough. At Florida Eye, cataracts are among the eye problems we see and treat most often. Although cataracts are thought of as a problem of aging, people of any age, even babies, can have cataracts. Over time, vision gets progressively worse. Cataracts cloud the lens, affecting the central vision and then the peripheral vision. Other symptoms include increased light sensitivity, blurry vision or double images. The only treatment is surgery, a very common and quick procedure.
Diabetics need to be aware of any developing eye problems and have regular eye exams. Diabetic retinopathy can weaken blood vessels in the retina, which rupture and bleed within the eye. You would experience blurred vision and possibly a reddish tint. When these very small ruptures heal, scars form, further damaging the retina. Laser surgery may be recommended to help prevent further vision loss.
The most important thing for you to know if you are a diabetic is that vision loss as a result of diabetes can be prevented 9 times out of 10 providing you schedule regular dilated eye exams.
A detached retina is very serious. If the retina isn’t repaired surgically, you could lose your vision permanently in that eye. Your vision suddenly darkens, but there’s no pain. This is an emergency.
Occlusion of the Retinal Vessel or Artery
The blood vessels that bring blood from the retina can become blocked by plaque or blood clots and cause vision loss. Occlusions can also occur in the smaller veins.
The primary cause of blindness in those over 55 is macular degeneration. The macula, the part of the retina responsible for the good vision we depend on for activities such as reading and driving, begins to deteriorate. The vision in the center of the eye is lost although people usually still have peripheral vision. It’s been described as like looking down a dark tunnel.
There are two forms, “wet” and “dry.” The dry form progresses at a slower rate than the wet form. There are several possible treatments. Your eye doctor will recommend the best one for you.
This condition is most common in those over 50. While symptoms resemble a stroke, it’s not technically considered a stroke but does increase your risk of stroke. In addition to vision loss, you have speech problems and lose feeling on one side of the body. The problem may be gone in seconds or minutes.
Glaucoma usually develops with no symptoms until vision is affected. The problem is caused by increased pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve which sends signals to the brain. Early detection and treatment are very important.
If the optic nerve becomes inflamed, it causes pain and sudden vision loss. Occasionally, optic neuritis may be the first sign of multiple sclerosis.
Blindness caused by a trauma or eye injury (such as a severe blow to the eye) occurs far less often than blindness caused by eye diseases. Three out of four people with eye injuries fully recover. Any eye injury should be seen as soon as possible by an experienced eye doctor.
It’s a rare side effect, but certain drugs, such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, can cause sudden vision loss.
Your vision is irreplaceable. Worrying won’t help but receiving the right treatment for your eyes and preserving your vision will be a gift for your tomorrows.
For more information, call Florida Eye Specialists and Cataract Institute at 813-681-1122.