The eyes are one of the most important organs of the body, responsible for our vision and visual perception. However, various eye diseases can cause vision impairment, discomfort, and even blindness, especially when they’re not detected early enough. That’s why regular eye exams are crucial for maintaining eye health. Book Eye An Exam Appointment in La Grange.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss five common eye diseases and their treatments – from cataracts to glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, and others.
Learning more about these conditions and taking steps to protect our eyes can preserve our vision and maintain good eye health for years to come!
Let’s begin, shall we?
Cataracts occur when proteins in the lens of one or both eyes clump together, causing the lens(es) to become cloudy. Essentially, cataracts blur your vision.
The condition is mostly linked to aging (affecting 90% of Americans 65 and above), but injuries and certain medications are some other known causes, while habits like smoking can make it worse.
In addition to blurred vision, people with cataracts may have to deal with sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night; but treatments like surgery are available to restore clear vision. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens(es) will be removed and replaced with a new, artificial one that can improve visual clarity.
Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, staying properly hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet may help prevent cataracts from forming or delay their onset.
Glaucoma affects the optic nerve and can cause vision loss. It occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye, causing extra pressure, and damaging the optic nerve.
In the early stages, glaucoma may have no noticeable symptoms — most people who have it don’t even know they do — but as the condition progresses, you may experience blurred vision, halos around lights, and loss of peripheral vision (seeing with the sides of your eyes, without looking directly).
Glaucoma damage is irreversible but medicine and surgery can prevent further damage.
Your eye doctor may recommend eye drops and advise lifestyle changes, like zero smoking and regular exercise, but surgery may still be necessary to create a new drainage channel for excess fluid.
III. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
This is a condition that affects the macula, a small area in the retina that is responsible for central vision. Patients may experience blurry or distorted vision, difficulty seeing colors, and blind spots in the center of the visual field.
As the name implies, AMD is most commonly associated with aging, but genetics and lifestyle factors such as smoking can also contribute to its development and severity. So, again, it may be necessary to quit smoking to slow down the AMD’s impact on your eyes.
There are a few treatment options for AMD, including anti-VEGF injections which slow the progression of AMD by blocking the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye, and laser therapy to destroy abnormal blood vessels.
Vitamins and supplements like vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc may also be recommended to help slow the progression of AMD.
IV. Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision loss if undetected or untreated.
It is barely noticeable in its early stages, but as time goes by, individuals may experience blurred vision, floaters (small dark shapes that move around in your vision), and eventually, vision loss.
There are several treatment options for diabetic retinopathy, including laser treatment, anti-VEGF injections, and vitrectomy (removal of the vitreous gel in the eye, along with any scar tissue that may be contributing to vision loss.
This refers to the condition where your eyes don’t produce enough tears or the tears evaporate too quickly, causing discomfort, irritation, and even damage to the eye's surface.
Age, hormonal changes, and certain medications are some known causes of dry eye syndrome while symptoms may include redness, burning, itching, and sensitivity to light. Some may also experience blurred vision or the feeling of something in the eye.
Treatment options for dry eye syndrome
- Artificial tears to supplement the natural tears in the eye
- Prescription eye drops to reduce inflammation or promote tear production
- Lifestyle changes like taking breaks when using digital devices, using a humidifier, and avoiding smokin
Managing Your Eye Health in La Grange
Early detection and treatment of eye diseases is crucial in preserving eye health. It is essential to have regular eye exams and to seek medical attention if any symptoms arise. Call our La Grange Office to schedule an appointment with our optometrists who can answer your questions and find adequate solutions to your eye care needs.