A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye which, as it grows, leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts are considered a normal aging process in the eye and most often develop slowly. They can affect one or both eyes to varying degrees. Some common symptoms may included blurred vision, poor color contrast, halos and glare at night. Once they’ve progressed to a certain level, cataracts can be operated on and removed by a specialist.
Age-related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is more common in the aging population and has two forms. The dry form is signified by deposits within the retina called drusen, pigment changes and scarring of the macula. The second form of the disease is the wet form and is signified by leaking of fluid or bleeding in the back of the eye. This disease is often progressive and can result in the loss of central vision.
Glaucoma is a disease in which the internal pressure of the eye becomes elevated and damages the structures inside the eye. Pressure against the optic nerve and compression of the eye’s blood vessels can cause permanent and irreversible vision loss if left untreated. Most commonly, these patients begin to lose their peripheral vision first. Glaucoma is typically treatable, with best outcomes arising from those detected early.
Diabetes is a disease of the small blood vessels. With poor blood glucose level control or longstanding diabetes, patient often develop leakage of the blood vessels resulting in blood in the eye. Patient can also develop new blood vessel growth and swelling below the surface of the retina. These patients often require laser or other treatments in order to maintain their vision. Blindness can result without early detection and treatment.
Retinal Holes, Tears and Detachments
Patients who experience flashes of light, floating spots or dark spots in their vision require an immediate retinal evaluation. Holes or tears can develop spontaneously, and if left untreated, can lead to a retinal detachment where the retina lifts and pulls away from the surface of the eye. This can cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Although uncommon, the eye can develop a form of cancer called melanoma. A dark spot at the back of the eye can grow unnoticed within the retina. If caught early, melanomas can be treated before they cause serious damage and travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream.