Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), often called macular degeneration, is associated with aging and results in damage to our central/detail oriented vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and doing tasks such as reading or driving. AMD affects the macula, which is the part the retina that allows the eye to see fine details. There are two forms—wet and dry. Wet AMD is occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These abnormal vessels eventually leak blood and other fluid. This causes damage and leads to rapid central vision loss. An early symptom of wet AMD is that straight lines begin to appear wavy. Dry AMD is when the macula thins overtime as part of aging process, which can gradually blur our central vision. Dry macular degeneration typically affects both eyes. The dry form is more common and progresses more slowly than the wet form. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye. One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is drusen which are tiny yellow or white deposits under the retina. AMD is the number one cause of permanent impairment of reading or close-up vision among people aged 65 years and older.
Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and is the number one cause of blindness in American adults. It is caused by progressive damage to the blood vessels of the retina due to improper blood sugar control. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes. The risk of damage to the blood vessels of the eye is reduced through disease management that includes good control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid abnormalities. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetic retinopathy reduces the risk of vision loss. Unfortunately, up to 50% of patients are not having annual comprehensive eye exams to detect possible changes to the eye. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States among adults age 20–74 years.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma occurs when the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes slowly rises. However, recent findings now show that glaucoma can occur with normal eye pressure. With early treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.
Amblyopia (lazy eye) is the most common cause of vision impairment in children. Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one eye is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself is healthy and looks normal, but the brain favors viewing the world out of the other eye. Unless it is successfully treated in early childhood, amblyopia usually persists into adulthood, and is the most common cause of permanent one-eye vision impairment among children and young and middle-aged adults.