Vision & Eye Diseases

As you get older, your vision is often the first of the five senses to be affected. From 2000-2010, the number of people with AMD grew 18 percent, from 1.75 million to 2.07 million. AMD is the essentially any age-related vision disorder. A vision disorder is any issue that causes you to have trouble seeing, reading, or recognizing shapes or faces. Like any muscle, as we age, our eye muscles just aren’t as strong as they used to be, putting strain on the nerves and causing vision issues.

Other issues like cataracts and glaucoma also increase as we get older, so it’s important to identify the signs of a vision disorder, and how it can be treated.

Symptoms of Vision and Eye Disorders

Since the term vision disorder is so broad, there are a variety of symptoms to look out for. As you get older, you might not even know that you’re squinting or having trouble reading street signs. Make sure to be aware of these symptoms and see a doctor if you identify any of them.

  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Frequent headaches after watching t.v. or reading
  • Double-vision
  • Itchy and/or watery eyes
  • Rapid blinking
  • Difficulty recognizing faces or street signs

Causes of Vision and Eye Disorders

Although there is no main cause of eye disorders, failing to take care of your eyes can have a huge impact later in life. Other factors like genetics and working environment can also play an important role when it comes to vision issues. Here are some of the most common causes of vision and eye disorders.

  • Not getting glasses when necessary
  • Straining eyes by reading small print
  • AMD due to age
  • Work-related eye injury
  • UV-ray exposure without proper protection
  • Eye infection

Diagnoses of Vision and Eye Disorders

Doctors will usually go through your family background and perform a physical exam before performing any further tests. These questions will try to identify any issues that could cause your vision disorder, like work environment or a genetic disorder.

Snellen Test

A Snellen test is used to measure the visual acuity of the patient. The patient is asked to read the letters with each eye separately and both together. Ability to read the letters at each size determines the visual acuity. This is the typical eye exam that you see in most doctors’ offices and school nurses offices.

Visual Field Test

A visual test is used to measure a subject’s peripheral vision. A device is attached to the subject’s head and as lights are flashed in his or her peripheral vision, the subject is asked to press a button. This will allow the doctor to identify any blind spots or issues with the patient’s peripheral vision.

Tonometry

This exam uses special instruments to gauge the pressure of fluid behind the eyes. Too much or too little of fluid can create a variety of vision issues.

Treatments of Vision and Eye Disorders

Cataract Surgery

This surgery will cut away the cataracts within the retina. Usually an artificial lens is placed within the eye as a replacement of the damaged and clouded lens. This, more often than not, restores the vision in the eye.

Glasses/Magnification Lenses

Most solutions for vision disorders will be some sort of prescription glasses. These will be tailored to meet the patient’s needs by conducting a vision exam. This exam will identify your prescription and will allow the optometrist to create the perfect lenses. They might also recommend magnification lenses to read smaller print.

Eye Drops

Eye drops can also be prescribed for those suffering from glaucoma or an eye infection. These will treat the eyes and allow the patients vision to clear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I was told my diabetes can affect my vision. Is this true?

Yes, unfortunately diabetes can actually cause damage to the eyes. What happens is essentially this - higher blood glucose levels cause blood to become thicker, leading to more fluid around the lenses of the eye and blurred vision. High blood pressure is another way that the optic nerve can become damaged and can lead to blindness. If one’s blood glucose goes unchecked, retinopathy can cause permanent eye damage as well. Staying on top of your condition is one way to maintain healthy vision into your golden years!v

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What sorts of things happen to the eyes of people who develop cataracts?

Cataracts in seniors occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and obstructs one's vision. For seniors with diabetes, the risk of developing cataracts is greater. If you think that you or a loved one may be developing cataracts, it's important to see a doctor. However, there are some symptoms you can look for ahead of time:

  • Faded colors
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
  • Impaired vision at night caused by effects of bright lights
  • Halo around lights
  • Problems with glares from lamps or the sun
  • Double vision
  • White/cloudy spot in the lens of eyes

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