Many people experience problems with their eyes or issues that affect their vision and eye disorders are relatively common, especially among older people. There are steps you can take to protect the eyes and reduce your risk of developing an eye condition, but often, there is nothing you can do to prevent eye disorders. Many disorders are more common in older people, while some affect people from birth or develop during childhood or later on in adult life. Here are 7 of the most common eye disorders to look out for:
- Age-related Macular Degeneration: This is an age-related condition, which affects people as they get older. It affects the central vision, which means that you struggle to focus on things right in front of you, for example the text in a book and vision can deteriorate over time. There are two types of AMD, wet and dry; wet AMD is much less common than dry AMD and it requires urgent medical treatment.
- Dry Eyes: Dry eyes occur when the tear glands do not produce enough moisture to keep the eyes moist. Dry eyes can be painful and the eyes tend to become itchy and irritated; you may also find that you have a burning sensation in your eyes. Treatment for dry eyes usually involves using drops to create more moisture in the eyes. In serious cases, where there may be a loss of vision linked to dry eyes, surgery may be recommended.
- Floaters: Floaters are spots or fragments, which float across your vision. They are most noticeable in bright light and although they don’t tend to be painful, they can sometimes indicate a more serious problem. If you experience sudden changes in vision or you have large floaters or flashes of light in your vision, it’s advisable to see a doctor. Sometimes, floaters can be symptomatic of a detached retina, which will require urgent treatment.
- Cataracts: Cataracts cause cloudy vision and they are most common in older people. When there is a cataract in the lens of the eye, light is unable to pass through the lens properly and this causes vision to become blurred and unclear. Cataracts are not usually painful and they tend to develop fairly slowly; however, they can lead to significant reduction in sight and treatment is recommended. Surgery to remove cataracts is usually very effective.
- Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva become inflamed; the conjunctiva is the membrane, which covers the eyeball and the inside of the eyelids. Symptoms of conjunctivitis include red and bloodshot eyes, itchiness, swelling and discharge in the corners of the eyes. Conjunctivitis is contagious, but it is usually not serious and can be treated with eye drops.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye and is usually associated with an inability to drain fluid from inside the eye. Glaucoma can potentially be very serious and result in complete loss of vision and early treatment is usually strongly recommended.
- Strabismus (squint): Strabismus is the medical name for a squint and it is usually present from birth; however, a squint can develop in later life, usually as a result of a stroke or a head injury. Sometimes, a squint can cause double vision. Often, wearing glasses can correct a squint, but sometimes, additional treatment is required, which may include surgery on the muscles around the eyes.
Eye disorders can be difficult to identify and can creep up over time but not necessarily with age. You can maintain your eye health with a nutritious diet, rest and consulting an eye specialist.