Did you know that more than 14 million Americans suffer from one form of visual impairment or another?
According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 11 million of those 14 million could significantly improve their vision from 20/50 to 20/40. They can do this if they take action such as getting glasses, having eyeglass lenses replaced, or undergoing refractive correction surgery.
There are numerous eye diseases and disorders that affect people, but the four biggest eye diseases that impair vision for millions are cataracts, glaucoma, floaters, and refractive errors. Their causes are varied from genetics to trauma to the head, to the food we eat.
The Most Common Eye Diseases
Here are the top four most common eye diseases and disorders that affect millions in the country.
1. Refractive Errors
Refractive errors are the number one reason why most people wear spectacles. When light enters the eye, it is bent or refracted by the cornea. The bent light is meant to help form images that we see. However, when light isn’t refracted properly by the cornea and the lens, it leads to blurry images. Genetics play the biggest role in the cause of these refractive errors.
The best alternative and treatment plan in this case is to see an optician or ophthalmologist who will write a prescription for eyewear. If you already wear spectacles, your optician can help you see better by writing a new prescription. To get lense replacements, you can send us your old or new frames and we will gladly fulfill the prescription.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 24.4 million people aged 40 years and above in America suffer from cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy formations in the eye lens that block the passage of light. When light fails to pass through the lens, the eye cannot form images and hence your vision will be limited. The leading cause for cataracts is old age. As you get older, there is a higher chance of developing cataracts.
The best course of treatment is to surgically remove cataracts. This almost always brings back complete vision, unless you have other eye problems such as glaucoma, which can damage the optic nerve permanently. If you still require a bit of help to correct vision, your doctor may prescribe glasses.
Floaters, as the name suggests, are small specks that seem to cross your vision field or “float” in your area of vision. Floaters can be seen by those with them in brightly lit rooms or when outdoors. If you have experienced trauma to the head, you may begin to see floaters.
Floaters themselves pose no harm but they should not be completely ignored. They can sometimes be the tell-tale sign of a bigger eye disorder – namely retinal detachment. Retinal detachment requires immediate surgery if discovered. You should consult an ophthalmologist immediately if you begin to see dark shadows or light flashes.
Surgery to help reattach the detached retina is the most common form of treatment for retinal detachment. Floaters are harmless in and of themselves, and if there are no signs of retinal detachment, they can be left alone.
Glaucoma affects 2.2 million Americans aged 40 years and above. It is often the result of years of damage to the optic nerve by pressure inside the eyes. Unless you are having frequent visits to your eye doctor, it’s difficult to detect glaucoma. The optic nerve is the nerve that sends images from your eye to the brain. This pathway is sensitive and when damaged, symptoms include seeing blind spots.
Your treatment options in this case involve the use of medicated prescription eye drops to help regulate pressure inside the eye. Reading glasses may also be prescribed to help focus on words when reading.
It’s Not Too Late to Save Your Eyes
Eye diseases and disorders affect a lot of people. Many of the disorders can be treated with prescription lenses, and yes, sometimes there is need for corrective surgery. However, most times, something as simple as eyeglass lens replacement can significantly boost your vision.
By knowing what the problem is, you are already halfway to finding the right treatment for you. Therefore, make sure you see an optician or ophthalmologist if you identify with any of the above eye disorders.