LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Many think blindness is an illness that people are either born with or a condition that a person experiences after an accident.
8 News Now spoke with Dr. Brian Alder, an Ophthalmologist and Corneal Specialist at Shepherd Eye Center to explain and list the illnesses that can lead to blindness. Dr. Alder says some of the illnesses that lead to blindness are developed over time and completely preventable.
EYE ILLNESSES THAT CAN LEAD TO BLINDNESS
- Cataract formation
- Macular degeneration
TIPS TO PREVENTING EYE ILLNESSES:
- Get an annual eye exam to catch any condition early
- Follow-up the treatment protocols for your condition (eye drops, medication, or surgery)
COMMON EYE ILLNESSES AND TREATMENTS:
Cataracts: Dr. Alder says that while cataract patients in the US have access to treatment that can address this issue, in other countries it is one of the leading causes of blindness. Dr. Alder says cataract surgery can easily fix the condition that causes his patients to lose significant vision.
Macular Degeneration: The center of the patient’s retina deteriorates. Dr. Alder says there are steps that can be taken to mitigate the loss of vision if you have this condition.
Glaucoma: A condition that damages the optic nerve which is vital for good vision, can be treated. Dr. Alder says an eye exam can help to uncover this condition and with proper treatment, patients can avoid the complications of severe vision loss or blindness.
Dr. Alder says some glaucoma patients have no symptoms so he recommends that even if your eyes seem fine to schedule an eye exam. An eye exam can reveal high eye pressure that will eventually cause slow vision loss. With Glaucoma, Dr. Alder says you can have no blurriness in your central vision but have significant vision loss in your peripheral vision until you experience tunnel vision.
Dr. Alder says these three common eye conditions all develop over time and with regular eye checks and treatment all can be avoided to preserve your vision.
In addition to getting an exam and following the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, you can take care of your eyes by:
- Wearing sunglasses outside when the sun is out – even in the winter season when sunny days are shorter
- Prevent eye dryness by applying lubricating tear drops if you often stare at a computer screen or your mobile device for a long period of time without blinking.
For more information please visit the website Academy of Ophthalmology at www.aao.org.