It’s easy to take your eyesight for granted-until something happens to threaten it. This throws visions important into sharp relief. Here are the five most common conditions affecting your vision and tips for preserving your eyesight.
Light rays from objects in view must pass through your lens to reach your retina’s light-sensing cells. When a cataract clouds the lens, your vision fogs and light gets a halo.
Tips for prevention: protect your eyes with lenses that block both UVA and UVB light, and avoid smoking. It’s important to control your blood pressure, watch your weight and manage diabetes as well.
- Diabetic retinopathy
Your retina transforms light into signals your brain can process. Diabetes can swell the retina and make blood vessels leak or grow, causing blurring, flashes, floaters, pain, and pressure.
Tips for prevention: get yearly dilated eye exams to detect diabetic eye problems early, which can prevent or slow vision loss. Controlling your blood pressure and blood glucose is also a key.
- Macular degeneration
You rely on light-sensing cells in the macula, the center of your retina, for what is called central vision. In age-related macular degeneration (AMD), tissue breakdown or blood vessel growth in the macula makes it hard to see faces, read, drive and more.
Tips for prevention: avoid smoking, which doubles your risk of macular degeneration as you age. Get regular exercise, control your blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, eat lots of leafy greens and fish.
The right amount of fluid must fill the space within your eye. Pressure from too much fluid damages the optic nerve, stealing your peripheral, and then your central, vision.
Tips for prevention: Work with your eye doctor to keep your eye pressure well-controlled to avoid losing your vision
- Refractive errors
Your eyeball, cornea, and lens must be shaped just right for light rays to bend (refract) and land on your retina to make their way to the brain. If this process doesn’t happen, vision blurs. In refractive errors, light rays do not bend and land where they should in the eye.
Tips for prevention: eye exams are recommended annually before age 18 and age 65, and every two years in between (unless you have a medical or eye problem that requires frequent attention)
Credit: Richard Gans, MD Clevelandclinic.com