We often take our eyesight for granted. The CDC estimates that 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the last 12 months.
Maintaining the health for your eyes is of utmost importance and should not be taken lightly. Below are the most common eye disorders and diseases.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disorder that affects over 10 million Americans, more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. AMD is most common amongst adults over the age of 65, hints the name. AMD affects the macula, which is the small portion of the retina responsible for reading, driving and recognition of faces and color. The painless disease causes wavy or blurred vision, and overtime central vision can be completely lost.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for AMD, but pursuing a healthy lifestyle by refraining from smoking, exercising regularly, eating right and protecting your eyes from harmful UV light can reduce your risk and slow the progression.
A cataract is a cloudy, white lens in the eye that makes it difficult to complete daily tasks. Cataracts cause blurry vision and make it hard to see at night. A common symptom of cataracts is seeing “halos” around lights.
Most cataracts are age-related affecting those over the age of 50, but can be the result of injury, UV exposure or protein deterioration over time. Living a healthy lifestyle, wearing sunglasses and getting yearly eye exams can reduce your risk of cataracts. Fortunately, getting a new eyeglass prescription will solve the problem, but with more advanced cataracts, surgery is necessary.
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that is caused by a damaged optic nerve. The symptoms of Glaucoma can vary, but include small blind spots, headaches, nausea and severe pain in the eye or forehead. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drop medication, laser treatment and surgery.
Catching this disease early is very important to salvage your vision. There is no way to prevent glaucoma, and most people have no symptoms or pain, making it crucial to schedule eye exams regularly.
Amblyopia is the scientific word for lazy eye. Amblyopia occurs when vision in one or both eyes do not develop properly forcing the brain to rely on the stronger eye, leaving the weaker eye to get worse. Amblyopia can be treated by wearing eye patches and using special eye drops to strengthen the weaker eye.
Amblyopia develops in childhood and most children are not diagnosed until their first eye exam. It is important for kids to get at least one eye exam between the ages of 3 and 5, the sooner the better.
Pink Eye is the household name for Conjunctivitis. This condition causes inflammation of the inside of your eyelids leaving your eyes itchy and red. Conjunctivitis is more common in children and is the result from viruses, bacteria, irritants and allergic reactions.
Pink Eye can be painful and should be treated with antibiotic eye drops. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, but rarely serious and unlikely to damage your vision if identified and treated early.