Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Eyesight is one of the most valuable assets that we have and nobody would dare to disagree. But no matter how much you cherish it, there comes a time when you experience some sort of an eye disease. Some of these eye diseases are mild and clear up on their own, while in some you might need the help of a specialist. Even a small ignorance can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it’s important that you identify any abnormality based on the symptoms on time. To help you, discussed below are some of the most common eye diseases.
Cataract is a clouding of the eye lens. Although mostly seen in people around the age of 50, it can develop at any stage or may be present since birth. When you have a cataract, the light cannot get through the lens to your retina (back of your eye where images are processed) and as a result, you may have blurry vision or may see a halo around lights at night. Fortunately, cataract is treatable. It can be easily removed by surgery. However, if left untreated, it can ultimately cause severe vision loss.
In conjunctivitis (also called pink eye), the clear tissue covering the eye and the inside of the eyelids get inflamed. As a result, you’ll experience redness of the eye, itching, burning, tearing, or have a feeling that something is in your eye. Normally, it can be easily treated with eye drops or ointments. But, it is necessary to stop the spread of the infection. For that, make sure to wash your hands frequently and do not share eye drops, cosmetics, towels, or washcloths.
The macula is the central portion of the retina that helps us focus. In macular degeneration, this part of the eye progressively gets damaged and the center of the vision is affected. Though it can begin at any age, it is mostly seen in those over 60. If you develop macula degeneration, you will not lose your complete eyesight, but only the center of the vision will go. Unfortunately, there’s no way to treat it, but certain treatments can slow the progression of the disease.
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This condition develops when tear glands cannot make enough tears or make poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable. You might have itching or burning or feel like there’s something in your eye. Although rare, in some cases, loss of vision may happen. Fortunately, there are easy treatment options available. They include using a humidifier, eye drops, and nutritional supplements.
Our eyes have a certain level of pressure inside them. Any increase in this pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve leading to vision loss. The group of diseases that can cause this condition is referred to as glaucoma. There are basically two types – open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly and symptoms may not appear until it’s too late. While closed-angle glaucoma appears suddenly and can be painful. Because of the pain and discomfort, this type gets diagnosed quickly unlike the other type which often goes unnoticed unless permanent damage has happened. The condition can be treated, but early diagnosis is the key. Therefore, regular eye checkup is necessary for prevention.
Diabetic retinopathy is the result of prolonged high blood sugar associated with type 1 and 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, you may have problems with your blood vessels throughout your body. But, in diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels in the back of your eyes (on the retina) get affected. It can stop the retina from receiving the proper amount of nutrients to maintain vision. However, the risk depends on how often the levels of blood sugar fluctuates and how well they have been maintained. So, to prevent the condition, strict glucose control, and following a healthy lifestyle is important.
[Also read – How to protect your eyes if you have diabetes]
Floaters are tiny spots that float across your field of vision. You may notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. They are caused by changes in the vitreous jelly of the eye. They are normal and often a consequence of aging. But, sometimes they can be a sign of a serious condition called retinal detachment – when the retina at the back of the eye separates from the layer underneath. In this condition, you may see light flashes along with floaters or a dark shadow across the edge of your sight. If these symptoms appear, see an eye specialist as soon as possible.
However common these eye diseases might be, most of them can be prevented. So, take proper care of your eyes to protect your vision. Always use eye protection to prevent injuries and the harmful effect of UV rays. Moreover, go for eye check-ups regularly. And if any symptoms appear don’t commit the mistake of ignoring them and without delay get checked by an eye specialist.
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