Vision loss is not a normal part of aging, but as we age our eyes do become more susceptible to certain eye disease and conditions. These include macular degeneration, development of cataract, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and dry eye. And unfortunately, eye diseases do not have many early symptoms, although all of them can be discovered during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Eye awareness and health is incredibly important; in the United States, there are approximately 40 million people who are aged sixty-five and older. And that number is expected to double and then some in the next thirty years. And, according to the National Eye Institute, the number of Americans who will suffer from eye-related disease is expected to double. Here’s a basic overview of a few of the most common eye diseases and conditions.
It’s the leading cause of vision loss. And more than ten million Americans suffer from the condition—that’s more people affected than cataracts and glaucoma combined. It’s an incurable disease, and it affects the central portion of the retina. That means that it affects a person’s ability to read, drive, and possibly even to recognize someone’s face and see different shades of color.
A cataract is a clouding on the clear lens of the eye. The effect has been likened to a cloudy or foggy window. Again, a cataract, like macular degeneration, can interfere with vision to the point that it’s difficult to drive, read, or even make out another person’s face or facial expression. There is a cataract surgery, and it’s a safe and effective procedure. And a cataract will develop slowly, growing over time.
Glaucoma is group of eye conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. It’s one of the leading causes of blindness, and while the condition can occur at any time in a person’s life, it is still more common to happen to an adult. And like other conditions there is little to no warning symptoms associated with the condition. It’s a gradual effect that may not be noticeable until it is in late stages.