Eye Disease Resources
The largest generation in history is reaching the age where eye diseases become more prevalent. The number of older Americans has increased more than tenfold since 1900, when 3 million people were age 65 or older (4% of the population). By 2030 the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 20% of Americans will be 65 or older.
Prevent Blindness America estimates that the number of Americans with age-related eye diseases and the resulting vision impairment is expected to double within the next three decades. Already, 30 million suffer from dry eyes, and 1.6 million feel the effects of macular degeneration. And it's estimated that there are 105 million cases of glaucoma worldwide; many undiagnosed and untreated.
Regular eye exams are an important way to detect eye disease, such as eye herpes, in early stages and provide proper eye care. Eye doctors may administer a contrast sensitivity test as part of a routine exam to check for symptoms of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.
There are many different types of eye infection and a variety of ways to contract them. It can be difficult for you to tell which type you have as the effects can be similar to common pink eye symptoms. Some of these symptoms can include irritation, itching and eye pain.
If you suspect you have an eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy, or an eye infection, such as pink eye, you should see an eye doctor.
There are also vitamins and supplements available, such as vitamins a, c, and e and lutein, which may help prevent various diseases and maintain proper eye nutrition.
Resources for some of the more serious eye diseases include:
Macular degeneration breaks down the macula, the light-sensitive part of the retina. It is diagnosed as either dry (atrophic) or wet (exudative). The dry form is more common than the wet, with about 90% of AMD patients diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss. Learn more here:
Glaucoma affects millions of Americans and is the second leading cause of blindness. When eye pressure (intraocular pressure) increases to dangerous levels, it damages the optic nerve. This can result in decreased peripheral vision (sometimes referred to as "tunnel vision") and, eventually, blindness.
Between 4.5 and 9.4 percent of people over the age of 40 have high eye pressure, which can significantly increase the chances of eventually developing glaucoma. There are two major types of glaucoma: chronic or primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and acute closed-angle glaucoma. Learn more here:
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens focuses light onto the retina, and also adjusts the eye's focus. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, sometimes causing double vision and making it harder to see. Learn more here:
Diabetic retinopathy affects millions of Americans who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. High amounts of blood sugar clog or damage blood vessels, causing damage to the eye's retina. The retina contains photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells) necessary for good vision.
Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include laser photocoagulation and steriod injections.
In addition to comprehensive information on chronic eye diseases, AllAboutVision.com's Conditions & Diseases section provides information on acute eye problems such as eye twitching, a sty and double vision. Please visit the site for more information.