Did you know that very few people are 100% blind? Different eye diseases and conditions have different levels of vision loss. Some people can only perceive light, some have lost vision in the center of the eye, and others have no peripheral vision. Some people have blurred vision and some have spotty vision.
Macular Degeneration: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in individuals 65 years of age and older. It is a progressive eye condition that affects as many as 15 million Americans, attacking the macula of the eye, which is the area where our sharpest central vision occurs. A person who suffers from AMD loses a portion of vision at the center of the eye due to a macular pucker, which is a layer of scar tissue that grows over the surface of the retina. He or she may have some side vision, so they can see enough to move around. However, daylight vision is usually impaired so one might require more lighting to see. Unfortunately, no macular degeneration treatment currently existing in the United States can fully restore vision loss.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma causes one to lose side vision. It can also result in the subtle loss of contrast, so distinguishing separate steps on stairs becomes difficult, for example. Often called “tunnel vision,” eye sight may be limited to a small central area. Glaucoma is more prevalent among people who have a family history of the eye disease as well as among people of African or Asian origin.
Detached Retina: With this condition, vision loss will occur where the retina has been damaged. A person may see a dark shadow over a section of the eye or can experience bright flashes of light or dark spots known as floaters. As many as one in seven people with sudden onset of flashes and floaters will experience a retinal tear or detachment, and up to 50% of people who have a retinal tear will suffer from a subsequent detachment. Fortunately, with therapy such as vitrectomy surgery, over 90% of those with a retinal detachment can be successfully treated.
To avoid permanent vision loss, it is essential that you make regular visits to your eye doctor. The earlier an eye disease is detected, the better your chances are at maintaining all or a portion of your vision.