Try to imagine living without the use of your most precious sense–VISION. Many people take their sense of sight for granted; but millions of Americans must literally live their daily lives without it. As we live longer, the reality exists that each of us may be faced with a potentially blinding disease during our lifetime.
Some of the more common eye diseases in older adults are:
- Cataract, a clouding of the normally transparent crystalline lens inside the eye,
causing a dimming or blurring of vision. Cataract surgery, both quick and painless, is usually very successful, restoring vision and allowing patients to resume their normal activity within a matter of days.
- Macular Degeneration, a premature aging of the sensitive nerve tissue in the back of the eye, causes a loss of central vision, though not blindness. In some cases, early diagnosis and treatment may prevent some of the severe complications of this disease.
- Glaucoma, a disease causing asymptomatic visual loss through an increased pressure inside the eye, causes peripheral vision to deteriorate. Early detection is needed to allow treatment with medication and/or laser surgery.
- Dry Eye Syndrome is the most common ocular disorder affecting the elderly population, as the glands producing the eye’s lubricating fluids become less functional. Fifty percent of patients over 50 years old have significantly deficient tear production, which causes symptoms of burning, tearing, and irritation, as well as lid infections. A new and simple treatment corrects this condition.
- Diabetes affects the small vessels in the back of the eye. Changes caused by diabetes produce bleeding and the release of fluid into the sensitive nerve tissue, resulting in significant visual loss. Early detection and treatment with lasers can prevent some of the disabling effects of this disease.
A thorough opthalmological examination can detect the early signs of most ocular abnormalities. With proper diagnosis and treatment, most eye diseases can be controlled and prevented from developing their devastating effects.
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