Fortunately, our eyes stay pretty healthy. Unfortunately, the problems that can occur are potentially devastating and often don’t cause any symptoms until its too late. That’s why early detection of eye diseases is so important. At Clearview Family Eyecare, Dr Salley provides comprehensive annual examinations as well as other restorative and preventive medical care services.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
In some people, AMD advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for a long time. In others, the disease progresses faster and may lead to a loss of vision in one or both eyes. As AMD progresses, a blurred area near the center of vision is a common symptom. Over time, the blurred area may grow larger or you may develop blank spots in your central vision. Objects also may not appear to be as bright as they used to be.
AMD by itself does not lead to complete blindness, with no ability to see. However, the loss of central vision in AMD can interfere with simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, write, or do close work, such as cooking or fixing things around the house.
The lens lies behind the iris and the pupil. It works much like a camera lens. It focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye, where an image is recorded. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.
The lens is made of mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract. Over time, the cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
Researchers suspect that there are several causes of cataract, such as smoking and diabetes. Or, it may be that the protein in the lens just changes from the wear and tear it takes over the years.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.
In some people with diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid. In other people, abnormal new blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. A healthy retina is necessary for good vision.
If you have diabetic retinopathy, at first you may not notice changes to your vision. But over time, diabetic retinopathy can get worse and cause vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes.
Several large studies have shown that eye pressure is a major risk factor for optic nerve damage. In the front of the eye is a space called the anterior chamber. A clear fluid flows continuously in and out of the chamber and nourishes nearby tissues. The fluid leaves the chamber at the open angle where the cornea and iris meet. (See diagram below.) When the fluid reaches the angle, it flows through a spongy meshwork, like a drain, and leaves the eye.
In open-angle glaucoma, even though the drainage angle is “open”, the fluid passes too slowly through the meshwork drain. Since the fluid builds up, the pressure inside the eye rises to a level that may damage the optic nerve. When the optic nerve is damaged from increased pressure, open-angle glaucoma-and vision loss—may result. That’s why controlling pressure inside the eye is important.
Child Vision and Learning
Did you know that 80% of everything a child learns, understands, and remembers is acquired through his or her visual system? Vision is very important in the learning process. What’s worse is that one in four children have undiagnosed vision problems that affect their learning. Sometimes the problem is misdiagnosed as ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), or dyslexia.
It is important that children receive comprehensive visual exams starting as early in life as possible. Vision screenings at school are not sufficient as a basis for diagnosing vision problems. A comprehensive exam may find a visual problem missed during screenings, and your eye doctor can recommend treatment.
Your child may suffer from a visual problem if they exhibit any of the following characteristics:
• Struggles with reading
• Grows tired or frustrated with reading
• Can’t sit still or stay at a task for any length of time
• Reverses words, numbers, or letters
• Has difficulty remembering the spelling of words
• Frequently loses their place, skips words, or skips lines of text while reading
• Has poor reading comprehension
• Has shown no improvement from medication or tutoring
Children suffering from uncorrected vision problems may face many barriers in life – socially, academically, and athletically. Make sure your child’s vision is developing well.
The Glaucoma, Cataracts, Diabetic Eye Disease and Macular Degeneration information has been provided by www.nei.nih.gov