- Aging & Longevity
The Five Most Common Eye Problems in Adults
Eye Problems in Adults
The Human Retina
Age Related Eye Problems
Unfortunately, vision problems are not uncommon in aging adults. Symptoms can vary in severity. The symptoms of vision impairment are usually subtle and many patients are surprised to see how much vision has been lost at the time of diagnosis. An optometrist or ophthalmologist is trained in providing a thorough evaluation. Although optometrists specialize in refraction, they are trained in analyzing the telltale signs of common eye problems. If symptoms are evident, an optometrist will usually refer their patients to a specialist for a formal diagnosis and treatment.
The five most common eye problems in adults are:
What are Cataracts? Symptoms and Surgery
What are cataracts? Cataracts are a result of the clouding of the lens in the eye. Cataracts are common in the aging. Cataracts are not contagious and cannot spread from one eye to another. A cataract can begin in one eye before the other and does not necessarily evolve simultaneously.
Are cataracts common? Cataract surgery is quite common and most cataract patients have had a lens replacement by the age of eighty.
Lens replacement is referred to as an intra-ocular lens replacement, or IOL. Cataract surgery is the removal of the old lens. A new clear and transparent lens is inserted in its place.
The lens: The lens is behind the iris. Light passes through the pupil, goes past the lens and refracts against the retina. The retina then sends the images through nerve endings to the brain. If the lens is not clear the result will be a cloudy image. Also, aside from clarity the lens adjusts focus for the various distances we see.
Understanding the symptoms of cataracts: cloudy vision The lens is made up of mostly water but also has protein. As we age it is not uncommon for the protein to build up, thus causing cloudy vision.
Types of Cataracts: Generally, cataracts are a result of aging, however, there are other types of cataracts.
- Congenital Cataracts
- Secondary Cataracts
- Traumatic Cataracts
- Radiation Cataracts
What is Glaucoma? Facts and Symptoms
What is glaucoma? Glaucoma is an increased intraocular pressure, pressure within the eye. This pressure can cause irreversible nerve damage to the retina and optic nerve. This damage causes vision loss and can potentially lead to blindness.
What causes eye pressure? The aqueous humor is a fluid in the eye. The aqueous humor is made behind the iris and travels through channels in the front of the eye to the anterior chamber. If this flow is slowed or blocked it will result in increased intraocular pressure.
Facts about Glaucoma
- Second leading cause of blindness
- There is no cure
- Glaucoma is more common in African Americans and Hispanics than in Caucasians
- Although all ages are at risk of glaucoma it is more common if you are over sixty
- Open-angle glaucoma is hereditary
- Blunt trauma or high impact sports have shown an increased risk of glaucoma
- 40% increase in increased eye pressure in adult patients that use a steroid inhaler for asthma
- Severe myopia (nearsightedness) and hypertension may increase risk of glaucoma
Types of Glaucoma and related symptoms
- Open-Angle Glaucoma: there are no visible symptoms. Vision loss occurs in the periphery. Elevated eye pressure would lead to further evaluation and a potential diagnosis. Therefore, regular eye exams are important in detecting elevated eye pressure.
- Closed-Angle Glaucoma: symptoms include blurry vision, rainbow halos around lights, pain in the eyes or head and sudden loss of vision.
Other Types of Glaucoma
- Secondary glaucoma
Understanding Diabetic Retnopathy
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What is Diabetic Retinopathy? Treatment and Complications
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication in diabetic patients, which negatively affects the function of the retina. Diabetic retinopathy is caused when the blood vessels that nourish the retina are damaged. This damage results in permanent vision loss.
Potential Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy:
- Blurred vision
- Vacant spots in the center of vision
- Difficulty with night vision
What is Retinal Detachment? Signs, Symptoms and Surgery
What is retinal detachment? Retinal detachment is the separation of the light-sensitive top-layer of the retina from the under-layer.
Potential Causes of Retinal Detachment:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Retinal detachment may be hereditary
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- History of retinal surgery
Potential Symptoms of Retinal Detachment:
- Flashing lights - usually in the periphery
- Unusual blurred vision
- Shadows and dark spots in the vision of one eye
Treatment for Retinal Detachment:
- Lasers are used to seal holes and tears in the retina
- An instrument such as a glass bubble may be placed into the eye. This procedure gently pushes the retina back into place.
Retinal detachment may cause permanent vision loss. Some vision may be restored with treatment.
Blindness can be the result of an eye problem. Traditionally, blindness is the total loss of vision in one or both eyes.
Leading Causes of Blindness:
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Macular Degeneration
Routine Eye Care
How often should adults have their eyes examined?
To maintain healthy vision, the American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years for adults ages 18 to 60, and annual exams for seniors age 61 and older. Patients that are at risk should consult their eye care professional for recommendations.
Matcha and Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetes and Vision: Drinking matcha has been proven to naturally improve ocular health and lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Read more
© 2012 Marisa Hammond Olivares