When you grow up without ever needing glasses, it’s easy to think that you’ll never run into other eye conditions. However, just because your vision doesn’t change enough to where you need glasses, there are still several other eye ailments that could occur as you age or due to certain health conditions. But what are common eye conditions that can happen to anyone?
By visiting an eye doctor in Alexandria, you can get an eye exam where you will be screened for common eye ailments. If you don’t have glasses already, a regular appointment with an ophthalmologist should be made at least every two years. With a regular eye exam, your doctor will be able to see any changes that may have occurred and can get an idea of your overall health. If there are signs of these common eye conditions, they can be treated and will potentially not become serious.
Over time, a cloudy lens begins to form over the eye that causes blurred vision. If not treated, it will only become worse and could lead to loss of sight. Cataracts generally develop due to aging, but there are other causes as well, including diabetes, trauma, some medications, and being exposed excessively to UV light. As cataracts progress, eyeglasses can be used to fix vision problems, but surgery is an option that will ensure a lasting solution. Have a conversation with our ophthalmologist about cataracts.
Retinopathy is when blood sugar levels are high enough that it damages blood vessels in the retina. The retina is a layer in the back of the eye that senses light, and creates signals that are sent to the brain through the optic nerve. Because people with diabetes struggle with blood sugar, retinopathy tends to affect diabetics the most.
There are two types of diabetic retinopathy:
- Nonproliferative retinopathy: This type is less severe and symptoms include bleeding in the retina causing a “wet retina.”
- Proliferative retinopathy: This type is more severe and includes unusual blood vessels that grow on the retina. These blood vessels can begin to bleed into the center of the eye, causing vision problems.
Age-related macular degeneration typically begins after the age of 60 and breaks down the macula, which is part of the retina that helps your eye focus. When the macula is damaged, it can cause your vision to become hazy or can even lead to loss of vision. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration.
Wet: blood vessels begin to grow behind the retina, causing blood and fluid to leak. This type can begin more quickly.
Dry: Cells in the macula that are light sensitive begin to break down, causing central vision to deteriorate.
Once this eye condition has set in, it’s nearly impossible to treat effectively, so catching it early is key. When caught early by an eye doctor, its progress can be slowed.
When light enters into the eye, it passes through the cornea and the lense. Initially, the light is bent (or refracted), and the cornea processes the light rays, turning them into a clear, focused image. Refractive errors occur when the cornea isn’t working properly and causes vision problems, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The good news is that these ailments are treatable, just make an appointment with an eye doctor in Alexandria and have a complete eye exam done.
Between the lense and the cornea, in the front of the eyeball is a liquid called aqueous humor. This liquid helps to maintain intraocular pressure. When there is too much pressure, it can cause damage to the optic nerve, which is how images are transmitted from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma can either occur as open-angle (a common form that is typically painless), or angle-closure (this type can occur suddenly and can be painful and cause redness of the eye). Symptoms of glaucoma include blind spots in the peripheral vision, but these symptoms often don’t begin until the optic nerve is already significantly damaged. This is why a regular visit with an eye doctor is so important.
We understand that no one really looks forward to making an appointment with a doctor, but when it comes to your health and your vision, spending half an hour with an eye doctor can make a big difference. Whether you just need to complete a two-year exam, need your glasses prescription updated, or if you’re noticing more serious vision problems, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, or our own local ophthalmologist, Dr. Sina J. Sabet.