Vision loss is not something a patient wants to hear as a diagnosis. Loss of vision doesn't always mean a total loss of vision or blindness; it can refer to eye conditions that are correctable with glasses or contact lenses. Those considered legally blind can sometimes still see color, shapes and movement, but the definition can vary by the degree of the impairment.
Several different diseases can lead to loss of vision and even blindness. Each cause has its treatment method, so the vision loss treatment depends on the patient and the cause.
Most Common Causes Of Vision Loss
In the U.S., five diseases most commonly lead to vision loss. This is because vision is fragile, susceptible to disease and injury, and becomes more fragile as one ages.
The most common diseases that attribute to vision loss are generally age-related, but not all. Some common diseases are:
- Macular degeneration (age-related)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Eye injuries
The ability of the eye doctor to save a patient's vision depends on the degree of damage and length of the disease.
Treatments For Eye Disease
The treatments depend on the disease. For instance, diabetic retinopathy occurs when blood sugar levels remain high and uncontrollable. This leads to blood vessels leaking blood and other fluids causing retinal swelling and affecting vision.
The best treatment is prevention by maintaining blood sugar levels. Treatments for this condition include:
- Injections to decrease inflammation
- Laser treatment to seal leaky vessels
- Eye surgery in advanced cases
Age-related macular degeneration depends on whether the patient has wet or dry macular degeneration. While there is no specific treatment for dry macular degeneration, the wet type is often treated using injections to help dry out the wetness and shrink blood vessels.
For cataracts, which are very common, surgery is the main treatment. However, you can reduce your risk by not smoking, controlling your blood sugar and protecting your eyes from UV light.
Glaucoma is an age-related disease caused by damage to the optic nerve over time. There is no cure for glaucoma, but treatments are available. Patients must continue treatments for the rest of their lives to slow and prevent worsening vision.
Eye trauma can be anything from accidents to conditions like an eye stroke. So, the treatments vary by cause and severity. Your optometrist can recommend the best treatment.
The bottom line is, it's best to catch disease and trauma early to save vision or prevent further damage. For this reason, patients noticing any vision changes should seek medical care.