You might assume that you’d recognize an eye disorder in the making or at least receive some early warning of complications to come. In many cases, eye issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism do make themselves obvious by the way they blur your vision. However, some disorders can prove more insidious.
In fact, several eye disorders that can eventually lead to partial or total blindness and wreak havoc on your vision along the way may display no symptoms until they’ve already advanced to a considerable degree, making regular eye exams a must. Cast your eyes on four such potentially serious conditions.
Glaucoma occurs when an increase in pressure within the eye (usually from inefficient fluid drainage) damages your optic nerves, impairing their ability to send visual information to the brain. The more damage the optic nerves suffer, the more vision loss you may suffer. Glaucoma represents a leading cause of blindness.
Some people develop a variant called acute angle-closure glaucoma, which strikes suddenly with alarming symptoms such as eye pain and profound vision loss. However, most glaucoma cases involve open-angle glaucoma, a slow-progressing form that may show no symptoms or subtle symptoms such as loss of peripheral vision.
Fortunately, eye doctors routinely test for glaucoma by measuring the pressure inside the eyes and running visual tests to check for any loss of peripheral vision. If you catch this condition in time, you can most likely control it successfully through medication or, in more stubborn cases, laser surgery.
The stereotypical image of blind people with milky-white pupils stems from a common cause of blindness known as cataracts. Cataracts develop when proteins accumulate in the lens, getting in the way of clear vision. Symptoms, once they appear, include blurry vision, faded colors, light sensitivity, and halos around bright lights.
While some kinds of cataracts may advance quickly, producing significant symptoms in a short period, most age-related cataracts take years to form. You may not notice any change in your vision during the earliest stage of development, discovering their presence only in the course of a comprehensive eye and vision exam.
3. Diabetic Retinopathy
The retinas of the eyes that perform the critical task of collecting light for image processing need a steady supply of nourishment from the tiny, delicate blood vessels. If you suffer from diabetes, high blood sugar levels can damage these fragile blood vessels, producing a potentially sight-stealing condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Untreated diabetic retinopathy can produce vision problems such as floaters, blurred vision, or odd empty gaps in your visual field. However, the earliest phase of the condition may not produce any visual symptoms at all. Your eye doctor needs to look inside the eye for any signs that you need to address the condition.
4. Macular Degeneration
One particular part of the eye’s retina handles your ability to use the center of your visual field. When this tissue, the macula, becomes diseased, you can develop blind spots that affect your ability to see objects directly ahead of you, even if your peripheral vision remains clear. Eye doctors call this condition macular degeneration.
Macular degeneration can develop in a very subtle manner, especially the more common, early-stage form of the disorder known as dry macular degeneration. As a result, you could have macular degeneration without realizing it. The sooner you know about your condition, the sooner you can take steps to control its progress.
You’ll feel much more secure about the future of your eyes and vision once you’ve chosen Davies Eye Center as your ophthalmology clinic. Our skilled doctors can detect diseases and disorders in their earliest forms, administering treatments to minimize their impact on your vision. Contact us today.