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FACT SHEET: COMMON EYE CONDITIONS

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Refractive error

Refractive error is a common eye problem and the most common cause of preventable blindness worldwide. It is a problem with the focusing ability of the eye and it can easily be corrected with a pair of glasses in most cases. You may have heard of myopia (short-sightedness), Hyperopia (long sightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia, these are all forms of refractive error which can affect both young and old alike. Click here to learn more about these conditions (links to blog post)

 

Cataract

A cataract is clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment. This clouding of the lens causes clouding of the vision, glare, and sensitivity to light and as It matures eventually blindness. While cataracts most commonly occur in those who are older, they can develop in younger people as well with some being born with the condition. Cataract can be treated with a relatively straightforward operation with people often experience a drastic improvement in vision almost immediately after surgery.

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition which affects the optic nerve, the nerve that takes the information from your eye to your brain. It is commonly but not always caused by an increased pressure in the eye which damages this nerve that codes for our side vision. Gradually people with glaucoma develop side vision loss and eventually tunnel vision.

 

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes increases the risk of a range of eye diseases, but the main cause of blindness associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR damages blood vessels inside the retina at the back of the eye. It commonly affects both eyes and can lead to vision loss if it is not treated. Most patients who develop DR have no symptoms until the later stages (by which time it may be too late for effective treatment). Therefore, screening and early intervention are critical in detecting eye problems. Education around diet and proper control of blood sugar and blood pressure is important as a preventative measure and laser surgery is needed to prevent vision impairment and blindness.

 

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (referred to as AMD or ARMD) is a degenerative eye condition caused by changes to the back of the eye, in particular, the macular region of the retina which is responsible for clear central vision. The most common type is Dry AMD (90% of cases) which causes distortion and blurry central vision, in some cases it can progress to the more serious wet or neovascular AMD which results in the sudden loss of vision and further eye problems. Treatment options are currently aimed at preserving the vision in cases of wet AMD and there is no available treatment for dry AMD. However, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and regular exercise is important in reducing the risk of macular degeneration and in slowing the progression of the disease.

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