Many people never see an Optometrist until they notice blurry vision and believe they may be in need of corrective eyewear. However, it is critically important to have a comprehensive exam regularly in order to prevent and/or detect common eye diseases from causing permanent vision loss and in extreme cases, even blindness! Some eye diseases can be detected long before you notice blurred or hazy vision.
According to the CDC, out of the estimated 61 million adults that are deemed high risk for vision loss, only half had seen an eye doctor in the previous 12 months. Regular eye care can be life changing, literally preserving the vision of millions of people! In the United States it is predicted that the number of visually impaired people will double by the year 2030. These numbers should greatly encourage you to take your vision health seriously, in order to help us reduce this number significantly.
Below is a condensed overview of common eye diseases that we are able to detect and help treat here at Valley Vision.
Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding or opacity of the natural internal lense of the eye. It may be only a small spot or it can grow large enough to cover the entire lens. When light enters the eye it scatters and this causes the patient to see hazy or blurred images instead of clear. There are many different types of cataracts and ultimately, the best form of treatment is to remove the cataract lens and replace it with a man made lens. New technology has allowed for greatly improved vision as an outcome of cataract removal.
Macular Degeneration: This is a condition in which the central portion of your retina develops areas of atrophy. As the disease progresses central vision diminishes. Treatment may include nutritional management, like vitamin supplementation. Careful monitoring is always recommended to reduce the chance of severe loss of vision from this prevalent eye disease.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. This damage is often caused by an abnormally high pressure in your eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Because of almost no warning signs you may not know you are suffering from Glaucoma until it is at a very advanced stage, as the vision loss is very gradual… again, highlighting the importance of regular eye exams! If glaucoma is diagnosed early it can be slowed and in some cases even prevented!
Diabetic Eye Health: Diabetic Retinopathy is a condition when a diabetic person’s blood sugar gets too high. This starts a series of events that lead to damaged blood vessel walls, which can begin to leak fluid or blood causing the retina to swell and form deposits known as exudates. Not monitoring and treating these spots can lead to vision loss.
Keratoconus: This is a condition when a typically rounded cornea becomes cone-shaped. The progression is usually slow and stops at any stage from mild to severe. The cornea can bulge and thin causing distortion to increase, the apex of the cornea usually scars which reduces vision. The great news about this is keratoconus can usually be treated with gas permeable contact lenses which are designed specifically for the irregular corneal surface. Some patients are not satisfied with contact lens treatment, in which case other alternatives for stabilizing the corneal distortion will be explored.