Around 2.2 billion people are near or far sighted and 40 million people are registered blind across the world.
Most commonly, vision impairment and blindness affect adults above the age of 50 but the loss of vision can affect anybody. Some babies are born blind, while others lose their vision at some point during their lifetime.
Sight is precious and without it, the world can feel like a very scary place. Just like regularly getting a great night’s sleep is important, taking steps to keep your eyes healthy is essential. Doing so reduces the risk of vision impairment or blindness.
Eating a nutrient-dense diet, practicing daily eye-strengthening exercises, and allowing your eyes to take a break from the constant blue light-emitting screens are all key ways to optimize your eye health.
It’s also important to visit eye specialists, such as those at Davis Eyecare, to get your eyes checked at least once a year. Just one eye examination can make the difference between identifying or missing abnormalities in the eyes that could eventually lead to a more serious condition.
The earlier you catch the development of poor eye health, the earlier you can receive treatments for potential problems and the less likely they are to affect your vision in the future.
Let’s take a look at the most common causes of blindness so that you know which conditions to keep an eye out for (no pun intended) as you age!
Uncorrected Refractive Errors
Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are all examples of uncorrected refractive errors. If left untreated or uncorrected, refractive errors can lead to severe vision impairment or complete blindness.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects your central vision. It occurs when the macula in the retina begins to deteriorate, reducing your ability to focus on things in the center of your eyes.
AMD is very slow to progress and it can take several years for the condition to begin seriously affecting your sight. It most commonly affects people above 50 years old and there is no cure.
The first signs of early AMD are slightly blurred central vision and dark spots in the center of the eyes. You may also experience something called drusen, which describes small yellow deposits in the retina.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause fluid to build up in the eye, creating excess pressure around the optic nerve. When left untreated, glaucoma causes irreversible damage that can lead to blindness.
There are a few different types of glaucoma, including open-angle and closed-angle. Depending on the type of glaucoma that you have, the progression of the disease and the treatments will vary.
Eye experts will use a tonometry test to check the intraocular pressure and check for glaucoma. Getting regular eye checks means you can spot the early signs of glaucoma and receive treatment to slow down its progression.