Cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration interfere with daily activities and personal independence, but eye exams preserve vision.
Screenings and preventative appointments are essential in preventing vision loss and low vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people who are visually impaired are more likely to suffer from accidents, social withdrawal, depression, chronic health problems and mortality. Three of the most common vision problems that can be diagnosed at a comprehensive eye exam are cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. As we age, proteins in the lens of the eye clump together and form a clouded area. Over time, the clouded region grows larger and progressively prevents light from passing through. Common symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, double vision, appearance of halos and difficulty seeing at night.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. About one in every six Americans has a developing cataract by the age of 40, and over half are affected by age 70. Cataract-related vision loss is correctable through surgery, and many patients can expect to regain clear vision with a customized intraocular lens (IOL).
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by elevated intraocular pressure that causes stress to the optic nerve. In most cases, patients do not experience pain or symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma. One of the initial symptoms of the disease is peripheral vision loss, but noticing this indicates an advanced stage of the disease when significant eye damage has occurred.
Although there is no cure for glaucoma, there are several treatments that can help maintain safe levels of eye pressure to prevent further sight loss. Click here for our Glaucoma Risk Assessment.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects five percent of Americans 65 years of age and older. AMD erodes the central vision which is necessary for daily activities like driving, reading and computer work. Studies show that AMD can run in families, and about half of AMD cases are related to heredity.
There are two types of AMD: wet AMD and dry AMD. Injections can slow the progression of wet AMD, and dry AMD can be slowed with vitamin supplements.
Healthy vision begins with regular comprehensive eye exams with dilation. At your eye exam, your ophthalmologist will test your eyes for focusing problems, refractive errors and eye diseases, as well as evaluate your current prescription. Use our Find a Physician feature to find an eye doctor near you. An eye exam also serves as a window into your overall wellness, so call today.