It’s no secret that people often delay eye exams, especially if they don’t need contacts or glasses. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, there are 61 million American adults currently at high risk for serious vision loss — yet only about 50% of them visited an eye doctor last year. Here are three eye conditions that can progress and lead to vision loss if patients do not receive a routine ophthalmic exam.
Also known as macular pucker, this is a condition characterized by a layer of scar tissue that grows on the retina, which allows for central, detailed vision. As people age, the vitreous gel of the eyes sometimes begins to shrink and pull. This pulling creates wrinkles and distortions of the retina that can cause blind spots and/or blurry vision. In about 33% of cases, surgery is required to treat retinal pucker.
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is one of the most common eye problems, with 200,000 new cases being diagnosed every year in the U.S. It is linked to damage to the retina’s macula, which controls the sharp vision needed for tasks like reading and driving. Early diagnosis is important because it causes irreversible loss of vision.
If you’ve been noticing eye floaters or flashes of light or shadow (such as the sense that a curtain is crossing your eye), you may be experiencing the symptoms of a detaching retina. This happens when retinas peel away from the underlying tissue. If the damage isn’t repaired within 72 hours of detachment, permanent eye damage is likely to occur. Retinal detachment is sometimes a complication of cataract surgery.
Although there are several methods of retinal detachment treatment, including laser photocoagulation, scleral buckle surgery, pneumatic retinopexy and vitrectomy, all treatments essentially involve finding and sealing any retinal breaks, while also relieving vitreoretinal traction. Vitrectomy surgery is becoming more popular and temporarily replaces the vitreous gel of the eye with a gas bubble.
Eye diseases and disorders are not something you can ignore — doing so can result in permanent damage to your vision.