Most of us accept that as we get older our eyesight is likely to get worse. Very few people with normal vision get through life without finding it hard to read the small print, and the vast majority of us are using glasses or contact lenses by the time we hit our sixties. But that doesn’t mean we can be completely relaxed about deteriorating vision. Some eye problems can lead to serious conditions that can be avoided if caught early enough. That is why it is so important to have regular eye checks.

Where Does the Problem Lie?

For vision to be optimum, the light has to pass through several different tissues. A problem with any of these will disrupt sight and may lead to further problems.

  • The cornea is the clear window at the front of the eyeball
  • The aqueous humor is the liquid behind the cornea
  • The lens focuses the light onto the retina
  • The vitreous humor fills the eyeball behind the lens
  • The retina is the nerve covered tissue that receives the light and converts it into nerve impulses
  • The optic nerve carries the impulses to the brain

The Cornea

The cornea, as the only part of the eye exposed to the air, is susceptible to a variety of different problems. It can be infected or damaged. A common condition is conjunctivitis, an irritating inflammation of the surface of the cornea and of the inner eyelid.

Damage to the cornea can cause a number of symptoms, like redness, watering, or changed vision. The treatment depends on the cause, but in severe chronic cases, a corneal transplant may be required.

Although not required by a problem with the cornea itself, some treatments for poor vision, such as the LASIK surgery carried out by John D. Goosey, M.D. effectively adjust vision by changing the shape of the cornea.

The Lens

With age, the lens loses its elasticity, and this is the cause of presbyopia, the difficulty of close focusing that comes with age for most people.

The most common serious (though painless) problem affecting the lens is the development of cataracts, making the lens cloudy and opaque. Eventually, it leads to blindness but can be corrected by removing the lens in a straightforward operation.

The Humors

Glaucoma is a very serious condition in which the aqueous humor in the front of the eye does not circulate or drain properly. This causes a build-up of pressure throughout the eye which can cause the optic nerve to fail. It is a painless condition that builds up over many years, especially in those with a family history. It is one of the most important reasons for regular eye checks.

Floaters are little black dots that can appear in the field of vision. They are tiny opacities in the vitreous humor which become more common with age. Normally they are just a nuisance that your brain will adjust to, but they should be checked, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light, as they may be a symptom of a developing problem with the retina.

The Retina

The retina is a mass of nerve receptors. It can only function when it is firmly attached to the back of the eyeball; if it becomes detached from its blood supply it rapidly dies. Therefore a detached retina must be treated as a high priority. Its symptoms are normally floaters and flashes, blurred vision, or blind spots. There are various treatments including laser therapy and the injection of a bubble of gas or oil to press the retina back against the eyeball surface.

Another common problem with the retina is age-related macular degeneration, where the main concentration of retinal receptors degenerate, and vision becomes vague. It is not curable, but early treatment can control the symptoms with medication or prescription glasses.

In Short

The protection of our eyesight is a priority for everyone. Although with the passing of years eyesight issues become more likely, problems can occur at any age. Diabetics are also at particular risk of complications affecting vision. The most important advice is to have regular eye checks by a qualified person, which will give early warning of the most likely conditions. Also seek an immediate consultation if you have any sudden change of vision, especially a sudden blurring or complete loss of areas of vision. That way you stand the best chance of preventing a lasting or incurable loss of sight.

Taina Schuster Marketing specialist with 7+ years of experience in Digital Marketing, Advertising and Project Management. Worked and led projects and campaigns within various industries, such as Retail, Food & Beverage, Entertainment, Healthcare and Oil & Gas.

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