Eye Diseases

Cataracts

If you have a cataract, your lens has become cloudy, like the bottom lens in the illustration. It is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.

The top lens is a clear, natural lens. The bottom lens shows clouding by cataract.

Aging is the most common cause. This is due to normal eye changes that begin to happen after age 40. That is when normal proteins in the lens start to break down. This is what causes the lens to get cloudy. People over age 60 usually start to have some clouding of their lenses. However, vision problems may not happen until years later.

Cataracts can be removed only with surgery.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body. Diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. It damages small blood vessels in the eye as well.

Medical control

Controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure can stop vision loss. Carefully follow the diet your nutritionist has recommended. Take the medicine your diabetes doctor prescribed for you. Sometimes, good sugar control can even bring some of your vision back. Controlling your blood pressure keeps your eye’s blood vessels healthy.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is when blood vessels in the retina swell, leak or close off completely. Abnormal new blood vessels can also grow on the surface of the retina.

People who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk also increases the longer someone has diabetes. One woman developed diabetic retinopathy after living with diabetes for 25 years.

Diabetic macular edema

Macular edema happens when fluid builds up on the retina and causes swelling and blurry vision. Diabetes can cause macular edema. Diabetic macular edema can lead to permanent vision loss.

Diabetes and cataracts

Excess blood sugar from diabetes can causes cataracts. You may need cataract surgery to remove lenses that are clouded by the effects of diabetes. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar helps prevent permanent clouding of the lens and surgery.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye  Our eyes need tears to stay healthy and comfortable. If your eyes do not produce enough tears, it is called dry eye. Dry eye is also when your eyes do not make the right type of tears or tear film.

Here are some of the symptoms of dry eye.

  • You feel like your eyes are stinging and burning.
  • Blurred vision, especially when reading
  • There is a scratchy or gritty feeling like something is in your eye.
  • There are strings of mucus in or around your eyes.
  • Your eyes are red or irritated. This is especially true when you are in the wind or near cigarette smoke.
  • It is painful to wear contact lens.
  • You have lots of tears in your eyes.

Having a lot of tears in your eyes with dry eye might sound odd. But your eyes make more tears when they are irritated by dry eye.

Your optometrist may tell you to use artificial tears.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye.  That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.

Some people have a higher than normal risk of getting glaucoma. This includes people who:

  • are over age 40
  • have family members with glaucoma
  • are of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage
  • have high eye pressure
  • have had an eye injury
  • use long-term steroid medications
  • have corneas that are thin in the center
  • have thinning of the optic nerve
  • have diabetesmigraines, high blood pressure, poor blood circulation or other health problems affecting the whole body

Glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. In fact, half the people with glaucoma do not know they have it! Having regular eye exams can help your optometrist find this disease before you lose vision.

Glaucoma is usually controlled with eyedrop medicine. Used every day, these eye drops lower eye pressure.

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome is the term used to describe the visual symptoms associated with prolonged computer use.

Symptoms

  • headaches
  • eyestrain
  • eye fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • dry, burning eyes

Causes

  • glare
  • monitor placement
  • screen color

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