By Christin Lee July, 2018
The risk of developing eye disease increases with age. Diet, genetics, age, chronic diseases, and lifestyle all play a role in the development of eye disease. Particular eye diseases are undetectable therefore it’s best to see an eye professional regularly to prevent changes in vision. Whether it’s finding the right contact lens for you, adjusting your eyeglass prescription, or improving your eye hygiene, take time to consider your eye health. Eye diseases usually have no early symptoms and can be painless until the disease advances into a more serious stage.
Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an irregularity in the cornea. Vision may be blurry or distorted as the eye does not focus light evenly on the retina. The lens, usually a spherical curvature, is often defected leading to distorted images. Myopic, hyperopic, and mixed astigmatism are common types of astigmatism that occur early in life. Eyeglasses, toric contact lenses, and even refractive surgery allow for correction of astigmatism.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness all over the world. Cataracts occur when the eye becomes cloudy and vision becomes opaque. This risk of this degenerative eye disease increases with age.
Color vision deficiency is not a form of blindness, but poses difficulty distinguishing different colors. Color blindness occurs more in males than females and is an inherited trait.
Conjunctivitis, also known as pinkeye, is an inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva. Infections and allergies can irritate the conjunctiva causing the eyes to become red and swollen.Viral conjunctivitis is the most common type of pink eye as it is very contagious and spreads quickly. Bacterial conjunctivitis is also contagious and stems from bacterial infection.
Diabetic retinopathy is also a major cause of visual impairment and blindness. Often associated with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy occurs when high blood sugar levels create damage to blood vessels in the retina.
Dry eye disease
Dry eye disease is simply insufficient tear fluid. This occurs for a large number of reasons and can cause discomfort and visual problems. Try a humidifier at home or special tear drops to increase moisture.
Glaucoma is an umbrella term for diseases that involve progressive degeneration of the optic nerve. Fluid in the eye builds up creating pressure and damaging the optic nerve. The optic nerve transfers visual information from the eyes to the brain and damage to the nerve can often lead to blindness or poor eyesight.
More than 10 million people in the United States are affected by age-related macular degeneration. The macula is the central portion of the retina that perceives light. When the macula becomes disturbed, blindness can result from age-related degeneration. Age, smoking, gender (female), and family history, are all factors that may increase risk of macular degeneration.
Although there is no cure, slowing the progression of the disease can prevent severe vision loss. Laser therapy, photodynamic laser therapy, anti-angiogenic drugs, and an increase in certain vitamins and minerals can decrease the development of the disease.
Often confused with farsightedness, presbyopia is a category all in it’s own. Presbyopia is the loss in the ability to see objects closely or read small print. While farsightedness occurs from the shape of the natural eye ball, presbyopia occurs when the natural lens loses flexibility. Wearing corrective lenses and undergoing refractive surgery are a few of the many options to improve the condition.
Refraction occurs when light passes through the cornea and lens. Problems can occur for numerous reasons such as the natural aging of the lens, changes in the shape of the cornea, and the length of the eyeball. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and even astigmatism are refractive errors. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and surgery are all viable options to treating refractive errors.
Many chronic diseases can be prevented and combated with healthy lifestyles. A well-rounded diet as well as regular exercise can keep not only your eyes, but also your body healthy. Keep your eyes away from direct sunlight, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. Make sure to see an eye professional regularly to prevent progression of early onset diseases and changes in vision.
Christin Lee is a yoga instructor, entrepreneur, and lifestyle blogger living in NYC. She currently writes for InsiderEnvywith an emphasis and focus on fitness, health, and universal human rights.
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