on Friday, June 15, 2012
Patients will notice significant changes that happen to their bodies as they age. Eyes are no exception. Aging eyes may mean a higher risk for developing age-related eye diseases and conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, eye disease from diabetes, glaucoma, low vision and dry eye. While a lot of these eye conditions don’t always have early symptoms and warning signs, a dilated eye exam can help catch the early warning signs of these conditions. Here is a helpful list of conditions and descriptions to discuss at your next visit with an eye care practitioner:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD):is a condition that slowly destroys the macula , the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly. It typically occurs in patients who are 50 years of age or older, but some risk factors for AMD include smoking, race, and family history. AMD is a gradual and painless loss of vision. Since AMD does not have symptoms in its early stages, it is important to get your eyes checked by an eye care professional
- Cataracts:A cataract is when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. It typically occurs in aging patients, but cataracts can occur in patients after an eye trauma, eye surgery, or even exposure to some types of radiation. Some risk factors are diabetes, smoking, and prolonged exposure to the sun. Make sure to have an eye exam by an eye care professional if you have symptoms like cloudy or blurry vision, colors look dull, double vision, glare, or poor night vision.
- Diabetic Eye Disease:This is vision loss that occurs as a complication of diabetes. It has no symptoms, so it is essential that diabetic patients have a dilated eye exam yearly in order to find and treat the disease before there is vision loss.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye's optic nerve and can cause vision loss and blindness. It is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. However, with early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
- Dry Eye: Dry eye is typically related to an insufficiency in tear film. Tear film is a mixture of water, fatty oils, proteins, and electrolytes . Tear film helps the eye stay hydrated, maintain a smooth and clear surface, and helps to prevent infections. When a patient either has decreased amounts of tear volume, or an increase in tear evaporation, that patient will suffer from dry eye. Some of the most common complaints of patients suffering from dry eye are: stinging, burning, grittiness, the feeling of something in the eye, and blurry vision. Aging patients are at risk to suffer from dry eye, so make sure to talk to an eye care professional if you suffer from symptoms of dry eye.
- Low Vision:Low vision is a term that is used for patients that have visual acuities ranging from 20/70 or lower and can’t be fully corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. It is a condition that is caused by a variety of diseases such as AMD, cataracts, diabetes, and glaucoma.
For more information on conditions and diseases that affect aging eyes, make sure to talk to your eye care professional.
on Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Low vision is a term that is used for patients that have visual acuities ranging from 20/70 or lower and can’t be fully corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. Patients with low vision are different from patients who are blind because low vision patients have some useful sight. However, many low vision patients are not able to perform daily tasks such as reading, driving, or even differentiating colors and shapes from a distance.
There are a variety of causes of low vision. Some of the most common causes of low vision are:
- Macular Degeneration
- Birth Defects
- Inherited Diseases
The loss of vision can be devastating for some patients; especially once they learn that their vision can never be restored. It is important for patients to see an eye care professional if they experience symptoms of vision loss. Some symptoms of vision loss are:
- Not being able to read
- Not being able to write
- Having a hard time watching television
- Not being able to shop
- Being unable to drive
- Having a hard time recognizing faces
Another symptom low vision patients may encounter is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This is when patients see things that are not really there. This is not a mental issue. This is simply the brain trying to replace images that the eye can’t see. These symptoms can often startle or upset patients. However, it is important to remember that patients with low vision have support groups, visual aids, and other resources available to them. For more information on low vision resources, click here