Eye conditions can affect people of all ages, but as we age, our eyes may
become more prone to eye conditions that could lead to serious
vision loss or even blindness.
The best way to protect your vision is to keep up with regular
eye exams, but educating yourself on the warning signs of common eye conditions
is also important in preventing permanent vision loss.
If you experience any of the following signs, contact your eye doctor immediately.
These may be symptoms of a serious, vision-threatening eye condition.
1. Sudden onset of floaters or flashes, or darkness in your field of vision.Spots in your vision called
floaters and flashes of light can be a common, non-threatening eye condition, but if you experience
a sudden onset of a lot of floaters and/or flashes or sudden darkness
in your field of vision, it could be a sign of a retinal tear or detaching
retina. Vision loss could be permanent if the retina is not reattached
2. Unexplained blurred vision and dark spots or floaters.Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition affecting people with diabetes, and is the
leading cause of blindness in people ages 20-64. About 25 percent of diabetics
have some form of diabetic retinopathy, and 5 percent have a severe version
of the disease. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy through a comprehensive
eye exam is vital to preserving vision.
3. Cloudy, dull or blurred vision and/or seeing halos around lights.Cataracts commonly affect aging adults. If you notice you have difficulty seeing
to read, drive or complete simple daily tasks, it may be due to cataracts,
a clouding of the focusing lens of the eye. Vision can be saved with cataract
surgery, during which the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an
artificial lens implant.
4. Gradual loss of vision, distorted vision.Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.The condition causes a diminishing of sharp central vision due to damage
to the macula. Vision changes caused by macular degeneration can advance
so slowly that symptoms may go unnoticed, but the disease can be detected
early with a comprehensive eye exam.
5. Sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, rainbow-colored circles in vision.Glaucoma occurs when the fluid in the eye does not flow normally, resulting in
high pressure inside the eye. Common symptoms of glaucoma include haziness
in the vision, sudden vision loss, appearance of rainbow-colored circles
around bright lights or severe eye pain accompanied by nausea or vomiting.
When pressure builds in the eye, optic nerve damage and permanent blindness
may result if not controlled. You may be at higher risk of developing
glaucoma if you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar or a family
history of the disease.
Early detection of each of these eye conditions is essential in halting
the progression of the disease and restoring vision that has been lost,
if possible. The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams
every two years for adults between the ages of 18 and 60, and annual exams
for seniors over age 61. This is why regular annual eye exams, or as recommended
by your eye doctor are crucial in maintaining and preserving your vision.
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait to schedule
an appointment with your eye doctor. Early diagnosis and
treatment could save your vision.