Advancing age brings with it common eye diseases that must be taken care of to lead a trouble free life. After all, so much we do in our day involves the use of our super functional eyes!
But what are some common eye diseases which can make life difficult for us? And can we prevent them all?
Well, you cannot entirely avoid all these common diseases of the eye, but you can become more aware of their symptoms, causes, types, prevention and treatment.
Yes, we are discussing common eye diseases and treatments in this article today.
It will take you about 7 to 8 minutes to go through this common eye diseases list, so grab a cup of tea or coffee for pleasureful reading.
Six Most Common Eye Diseases in Old Age & How You Can Conquer Them
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The macula is the central part of your retina (the back layer of the eye that sends the brain visual signals). As it wears with advancing age, your ability to see diminishes because the macula is what helps you see, read and do any visual task. The condition is called by the term age-related macular degeneration.
So, how do you know that you might have the disease? Some signs include blurry vision, distorted spots in the centre of what you see, and distorted colour perception.
When it is in the early stage, the issue is called dry macular degeneration. During this, you get to see yellow spots collecting in your macula and around it.
As the damage continues to happen, there is a stage when blood vessels start to grow under your macula. They leak blood into the retina which damages the photoreceptors on it that help you see.
This stage is known as wet macular degeneration and may further lead to permanent loss of vision.
AMD is one of the common genetic eye diseases. If you have someone in your family, who suffered from macular degeneration, then it’s more likely for you to develop it too. Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle also increase the risk of having this disease.
Treatment & Prevention
While there’s no proper cure of AMD, there are certain medications that help slow the process of degeneration. Thus, pushing loss of vision further in the future.
A proper nutrient-rich diet might help to prevent macular degeneration from happening in the first place. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of AMD.
Also, try to add eye-friendly nutrients like zinc and vitamin A to your daily intake and avoid your battle with this eye disease.
Our natural lens is usually clear to help us have a clear vision. But cataracts are a condition in which the lens gets cloudy, and we get to see only unclear and blurred images.
Why does this happen? Well, the protein in our eyes starts clumping and forms the clouds that hamper our vision.
With age, the likelihood of this condition increases. So, it's crucial to look out for its symptoms. Doing this will enable quicker diagnosis and treatment if you have cataracts.
Some symptoms include blurred vision, sensitivity towards light, double vision (seeing two images of the same object), faded colours, and dizziness.
Wondering what leads to the clumping of protein and thus, the cloudiness? Well, there are various causes. For example, trauma, diabetes, excessive sun exposure, nutrient deficiency, and radiation therapy.
Diagnosis and Treatment
For the diagnosis, you will have to go through some tests, including the refraction test. And if diagnosed, surgery will have to be done to replace your original but cloudy eye lens with a new and artificial one.
But, if the cataract is minor, you might only need some external treatment and may avoid surgery.
Preventing a cataract is always better. To do this, you can make sure to protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Wear anti-UV glasses and sunglasses whenever you step out.
Also, you should avoid alcohol and smoking and manage your health well. Obesity, high blood pressure, and issues like glaucoma can be a risk factor. Make sure you keep them all in control.
Not only is this important for cataracts but to avoid many other common eye diseases of the elderly.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetes has a lot of eye issues related to it. Blurry vision, glaucoma, and cataracts are some of them.
However, Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the most severe ones that we will talk about in this section. It is one of those common eye diseases in elderly, which can lead to irreversible vision loss eventually.
In simple words, diabetic retinopathy is the damage caused to the blood vessels in our retina.
While the early stages of the damage do not show any signs and symptoms, in the later stages, you may observe impaired night vision and blurred vision. There's a possibility you might start seeing colourless spots floating around in your field of vision. These are called floaters.
The reason behind diabetic retinopathy is high blood glucose. It creates a pressure on the blood vessels that take the responsibility of nourishing our retina.
The vessels eventually become blocked. And this leads to the requirement to form new blood vessels. But because these new vessels are weak, they break down and leak fluid in the eye. This event further causes haziness and blocks the retina, thus causing loss of vision.
Prevention and Treatment
It’s essential to manage your diabetes and blood pressure to prevent diabetic retinopathy.
For this, you will need to remove smoking and alcohol from your life. You will also have to maintain a healthy weight to so that diabtes doesn’t grow and stops affecting your eyes. Consistent exercise and consuming a balanced and nourishing diet will help.
If not prevented on time, treatment involving surgeries might become necessary. These surgeries include focal laser treatment, scatter laser treatment and vitrectomy.
There is an optic nerve in our brains which is responsible for sending visual signals from the retina to the brain. It is what helps us see.
Glaucoma is a collection of related eye disorders which cause damage to this optic nerve. It is one of the common eye diseases that cause blindness.
This damage is mostly because of ocular hypertension. It means that the pressure inside the eye is higher than what it normally should be.
Glaucoma is usually painless and has no symptoms. Although, you can experience nausea, blurry vision and halos at one stage of vision loss.
Prevention and Treatment
Exercise has been said to reduce the risk of Glaucoma to a reasonable extent.
When it comes to treatment, doctors usually suggest medication when the severity is low. For a little more severe case, laser treatment or surgery might be the right option to reduce the intraocular pressure that is causing the optic nerve damage.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is as common as the common cold. Everyone from youngsters to the elderly experience this issue. It’s just a feeling of dryness you get in your eye after looking at screens for long periods.
Not blinking enough causes all the moisture in your eyes to dry up, leading to an uncomfortable feeling.
With age, however, you begin experiencing dry eyes more and more. This fact is essentially true if your screen-usage on TVs, phones, and computers does not reduce.
There are three main reasons.
- Just like a machine in a factory loses its spark after years of working, your eyes too don’t work as amazingly as they did when you were younger.
- The screens around us are increasing day by day. (earlier it was only the TV, now you have the phone and computer around too)
- Dry eyes can be a side effect of medicines. And usually, as we age, the number of medications increases as well.
Some symptoms of dry eyes are redness, itchiness, fatigue, sensitivity to bright light, and a burning sensation in the eyes.
We shouldn’t be ignoring dry eyes like we sometimes ignore common cold even if it’s one of the less serious common eye diseases. That’s because dry eyes can further lead to inflammation or scarring on the surface of the eye. And these can lead to loss of vision.
Prevention and Treatment
A great way to take care of your eyes and prevent them from dryness is by using computer glasses. You can do some eye exercises as well.
But in case you experience dry eyes already and can’t prevent them, use eye drops that don’t have the medication.
If the problem persists, visit your eye doctor. If required, he might ask you to get a corrective surgery done.
Low vision is when you are unable to see sharp images. It is measured based on visual acuity. The perfect vision has a visual acuity of 20/20.
With low vision, your visual acuity might be 20/40 or 20/60 or something on the same lines.
- Night Blindness (inability to see objects in poor lighting)
- Blurred vision (objects seem out of focus)
- Reduced Peripheral Vision (difficulty seeing objects on any side of the eye except the central portion)
- Reduced Central Vision (difficulty seeing objects in the centre of your vision).
Cause and the Symptoms
It is just a natural result of advancing age. And it happens to everyone. You may start having problems with glare or may find it difficult to read or drive.
People with other eye disorders like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease are more at the risk of low vision than anyone else.
Low vision can also be because of some inherited disorders, brain injuries, or cancer of the eye.
How to manage it?
Spectacles with corrective lenses, magnification devices, and proper lighting around you may help you see clearly.
There you go! Those were the six most common eye diseases in humans that can bring you trouble. But now that you are aware of them, you can take steps against them.
For example, a good step can be to add nutrients like zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E to your regular diet. These are highly beneficial for the eyes while having numerous other benefits too.
The first step now, however, should be to see what common eye problems symptoms you have. And if you have any matching symptoms to any of these common eye diseases and disorders, then you must get in touch with your doctor for a check-up.
Also, make sure to get an eye test done at least every 6 months. This way, you will find the eye disease developing before it's too late and will be able to treat it soon.
In case you or your loved ones are finding it challenging to handle your regular health check-ups and similar stuff, we suggest you enrol in the Emoha Empower plan.
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