Common Eye Diseases – Cataracts & Glaucoma

Most people have eye problems at one time or another. Some are minor and will go away on their own, or are easy to treat at home. Others need a specialist’s care. Whether your vision isn’t what it used to be, or never was that great, there are things you can do to get your eye health back on track. See if any of these common problems sound familiar. And always check with us if your symptoms are looks like what we describe below.

Cataracts

Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop in the eye lens.

A healthy lens is clear like a camera’s. Light passes through it to your retina — the back of your eye where images are processed. When you have a cataract, light can’t get through as easily. The result: You can’t see as well and may notice glare or a halo around lights at night.

Cataracts often form slowly. They don’t cause symptoms like pain, reduced vision, redness, or tearing in the eye.

Some stay small and don’t affect your sight. If they do progress and affect your vision, surgery almost always works to bring it back.

If you’re over 60 and your vision has gotten blurry or cloudy, you may have cataracts. It’s a common condition in older adults.

What Causes Cataracts?

You develop them when protein builds up in the lens of your eye and makes it cloudy. This keeps light from passing through clearly. It can cause you to lose some of your eyesight. There are different types of cataracts. They include:

  • Age-related. These form as you get older.
  • Congenital. This is what doctors call it when babies are born with cataracts. They may be caused by infection, injury, or poor development in the womb. Or, they can form in childhood.
  • Secondary. These happen as a result of other medical conditions, like diabetes. They can also result from being around toxic substances, ultraviolet light, or radiation, or from taking medicines such as corticosteroids or diuretics.
  • Traumatic. These form after an injury to the eye.
    Other things that can increase the risk of getting cataracts include smoking, and heavy drinking.

What Are the Symptoms?

Cataracts usually form slowly. You may not know you have them until they start to block light. Then you might notice:

  • 1. Vision that’s cloudy, blurry, foggy, or filmy
  • 2. Nearsightedness (in older people)
  • 3. Changes in the way you see color
  • 4. Problems driving at night (glare from oncoming headlights, for example)
  • 5. Problems with glare during the day
  • 6. Double vision in the affected eye
  • 7. Trouble with eyeglasses or contact lenses not working well

How Are They Diagnosed?

You will need to visit one of our branches for a throough eye examination. Remember to bring your glasses or contacts to the appointment.

What’s the Treatment?

If your vision can be corrected with glasses or contacts, your doctor will give you a prescription. If it can’t, and cataracts are a problem in your daily life, you may need cataract surgery. It’s done on an outpatient basis, meaning you’ll go home the same day, and it’s usually very successful. The surgeon will remove your lens and replace it with a man-made one. More than 95% of people who have this done say they can see better afterwards.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of vision. Globally it is the second leading cause of blindness with no major causative factor. Glaucoma often runs in families.  There are several types of the disease and each is caused by a different disease process that tends to affect different racial groups.  Overall, people of African origin are more likely than Caucasians to get glaucoma.

Other risk factors for developing glaucoma include being over 45 years old, having high intraocular pressure (IOP; pressure in the eye), myopia (nearsightedness), diabetes, high blood pressure, and a history of an eye injury or infection.

Vision loss caused by eye diseases such as glaucoma can be prevented, or at least minimized if diagnosed and treated early.

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