The term “loss of vision” can refer to total or partial loss of vision. When a person begins to lose their sight, they may experience a variety of symptoms, such as blurred vision, the presence of spots in central vision, and loss of peripheral vision. Vision loss is a common phenomenon with aging. In this article, we describe the symptoms of vision loss and discuss potential causes of blindness. We also list possible treatments and tips for healthy eyes.
What are the symptoms of vision loss?
If a person experiences vision loss, they can develop a number of symptoms. These may include:
blurry and cloudy vision
wavy lines or spots in central vision
restricted peripheral vision
poor vision at night or in the dark
difficulty seeing colors
Potential Causes of Vision Loss
Below are some of the potential causes of vision loss.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when aging damages the macula. The macula is a part of the retina. It controls sharp and direct vision. When AMD damages the macula, it can blur a person’s central vision. AMD is one of the main causes of vision loss in the elderly. It does not cause complete blindness, but loss of central vision can make it harder to:
see the faces
perform close-up work, such as cooking or repairing objects.
A cataract is a cloudy area that appears in the lens of the eye. The lens is the transparent part of the eye that helps focus light. Most cataracts develop due to natural changes in the eye as a person ages. When a person is young, their lens is often clear. Then, with age, the proteins in the lens begin to break down and clump together. These clusters cause opacification of the lens, causing cataracts. Cataracts can take time to develop and a person may not notice they have cataracts at first. Over time, cataracts can get worse, making the person’s vision:
Cataract is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a potential complication of diabetes. It occurs when diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The severity of DR varies depending on the number of clogged blood vessels, but it can lead to permanent vision loss.
In the early stages of DR, a person may experience no symptoms. Others may experience symptoms such as difficulty reading or seeing distant objects. These changes can come and go. In later stages of DR, a person may see floating spots or streaks in their vision. Early diagnosis and treatment of DR can help reduce the risk of vision loss. However, about 50% of people with DR are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective.
Glaucoma is the name of a group of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. This is the nerve at the back of the eye. In its early stages, glaucoma may cause no symptoms. Over time, the person may begin to slowly lose sight. It often starts with peripheral vision. Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, but early treatment can help stop damage to the optic nerve and protect vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Treatments for vision loss depend on the cause. Below are different treatment options for some causes of vision loss.
There is currently no treatment for early-stage AMD. If a person has intermediate AMD, their doctor may recommend that they take dietary supplements to prevent it from developing into late AMD. Wet AMD is a less common type of AMD that causes faster vision loss. In wet AMD, the doctor may recommend anti-VEGF medications and photodynamic therapy.
If a person has cataracts at an early stage, they may be able to make the following changes to manage it:
using brighter lights at home or at work
wear anti-glare sunglasses
using magnifying lenses for reading and other activities
A new prescription for glasses or contact lenses can help a person with cataracts see better. If the cataract begins to interfere with a person’s daily activities, a doctor may suggest that they have surgery to remove it.
Treatment for DR cannot repair damage to a person’s vision. However, treatment can prevent vision from worsening. The treatment options for DR are:
Injections: A doctor may inject anti-VEGF drugs into the eye to slow or reverse DR.
Laser treatment: Laser treatment can reduce retinal swelling. Doctors can also use lasers to shrink blood vessels and stop leaks.
Eye surgery: If the retina bleeds a lot or there is excessive scarring in the eye, an eye doctor may recommend surgery called a vitrectomy.
Glaucoma treatment cannot repair damage to the eye. However, treatment can prevent the damage from getting worse. Glaucoma treatments include
Medications: Prescription eye drops are the most common treatment for glaucoma. They lower the pressure in the eye and prevent damage to the optic nerve.
Laser treatment: Doctors can use lasers to drain fluid from the eye and reduce pressure.
Surgery: If medications and laser treatment do not work, the doctor may suggest surgery. There are several types of surgical procedures that can drain fluid from the eye.
Tips for healthy eyes and vision
To help prevent vision loss and maintain good eye health; try:
to consult an ophthalmologist for a complete and regular eye examination with dilation
blood sugar level
know the family history of eye health
a healthy and balanced diet
maintain a moderate weight
wear protective eyewear if necessary
wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays
take regular breaks from the screen
clean hands and contact lenses properly.
When to contact a doctor
If a person notices a change in their vision, they should contact an eye doctor immediately. Indeed, early diagnosis and treatment are very important for a number of eye conditions, as they help prevent eye damage from getting worse.
The term “loss of vision” can refer to total or partial loss of vision. Common symptoms of vision loss are blurred vision, spots in central vision, and loss of peripheral vision. There are a number of possible causes of vision loss, including AMD, cataracts, DR, and glaucoma. If a person has signs of vision loss, they should contact an eye doctor immediately. This is because early treatment is important to prevent further damage to the eye.