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4 Common Causes of Vision Loss

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What Are Common Causes of Impaired Eyesight in Michigan?

According to the CDC, over 12 million people over the age of 40 are affected by vision impairment in the United States. This number includes 1 million who are completely blind and 3 million who have partial blindness. The main difference between the two is the ability to partially see, including light. Complete blindness means you cannot see anything, including light. 

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Knowing what causes vision loss, the symptoms to watch for, and various risk factors can help you take better care of your eyesight. Any changes in your vision should be addressed with your eye doctor, since early diagnosis can help preserve your eyesight. 

 

Explore four common types of eye diseases that can cause vision loss. 

Cataracts

The clouding of the natural lens of the eye is called cataracts and is most commonly caused by aging. This condition is incredibly common in those over the age of 60, with more than 50% of people experiencing cataracts. Our vision changes as our eyes naturally age. 

 

Symptoms include: 

 

  • Clouded vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light
  • The appearance of light halos
  • Double vision
  • Vision appears faded or yellow in color

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It damages the optic nerve in the back of the eye, causing vision loss. Glaucoma can present in two ways, either primary open-angle or angle-closure. Primary open-angle glaucoma develops gradually and does not show additional symptoms besides changes in vision.   

 

However, angle-closure glaucoma does have additional symptoms, such as: 

 

  • Peripheral vision loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches or nausea

Diabetic Retinopathy

High levels of blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels in the eye, leading to diabetic retinopathy. This vision condition can seriously impede eyesight. 

 

Symptoms include: 

 

  • Blurry vision
  • Floaters
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Dark spots in vision
  • Less color vibrancy 

Macular Degeneration

The part of the retina called the macula, located in the back of the eye, helps you see objects clearly. Macular degeneration affects the macula and impacts central vision. This can have one of two forms — wet or dry. Wet macular degeneration is the more severe form, and can cause legal blindness.  

 

Symptoms of wet macular degeneration: 

 

  • A gradually growing blurry spot in your vision 
  • Visual distortion

 

Symptoms of dry macular degeneration: 

 

  • A gradually growing blurry spot in your vision 
  • Colors appear faded
  • Difficulty doing tasks up close like reading 

Thyroid Eye Disease

This autoimmune disorder affects the tissues around the eye, causing them to be irritated and inflamed, and can lead to vision loss.

 

Symptoms include: 

 

  • Eye irritation
  • Redness
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurriness
  • Double vision
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Eyelid discomfort
  • Bulging eyes

Who is at Risk? 

Certain risk factors can contribute to the development of one of the five main causes of vision loss. These risk factors include: 

 

  • Aging  
  • Diabetes
  • Eye injuries
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • High blood pressure

Preventative Measures to Take 

There are certain steps you can take to put your vision health in your own hands. The best way to prevent vision loss is to receive annual eye exams and inform your eye doctor if you experience any changes in your vision. Additionally, keeping a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, not smoking, and performing regular physical activity can also help keep your eyes healthy. 

How Vision Loss is Diagnosed 

Vision loss can be diagnosed at your annual eye exam. You will be given various tests depending on your symptoms. These could be a retinal exam or a visual field test depending on what your doctor is testing for. Keeping up to date with your regular eye exams is an important way to diagnose vision problems before they become serious. 

Treatments

After a diagnosis, consult with your eye doctor on the best form of treatment. Advancements in eye care treatments mean that you will receive the most comprehensive care from experienced ophthalmologists. Some of the treatment options available to you include:  

Laser Cataract Surgery

During laser cataract surgery, your clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens. The surgery is quick and some patients can experience improved vision immediately following the surgery. 

Traditional Glaucoma Surgery

Traditional glaucoma surgery is used to drain the eye of excess fluid using the latest shunt technology. This surgery is a great option for those with advanced glaucoma, and can help avoid long-term vision loss. 

Minimally-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery

If glaucoma is diagnosed in the early stages, minimally-invasive glaucoma surgery could be an effective treatment option. As the name suggests, this surgery is less intrusive than traditional glaucoma surgery and has a quicker recovery time. 

Consult the Vision Experts

Diagnose the cause of your vision loss by scheduling an appointment with Michigan’s expert eye doctors. At MEI, we provide compassionate and reliable care and treatment plans that fit your needs. When you are ready to book with a trustworthy eye doctor, call MEI at (810) 484-0550 or request your appointment online.

 

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