Almost 1 in 30 people is living with sight loss in the UK. Everyone has different degrees of sight loss, the experience is personal to the individual. The images below are a representation of how a condition may affect someone’s vision.
Macular degeneration affects the central part of the field of vision. The most common cause of sight loss in older people is age related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD comes in 2 forms
Dry AMD – Currently there is no treatment for dry AMD which is caused by the gradual dying off of retinal cells. The progression of the disease is gradual and can take many months or years to develop.
Wet AMD – is caused by the formation of blood vessels in the macular area of the eye, these can and do ‘leak’ fluid which then leads to scarring of the macular. The impact of the leaking vessels is sudden and a deterioration in vision levels will be noticed straight away. There is treatment available which can limit the amount of damage / vision lost if accessed straight away.
As always if you notice any sudden changes in your vision please seek assistance from an optician/ eye clinic as soon as possible.
This is the name for a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. The eye, like our heart, needs a certain level of pressure to be able to function. If the pressure in your eye goes outside of a healthy range it can lead to damage to your optic nerve.
The damage to your optic nerve may be visible to an optician before you are even aware that your vision has been affected. In most cases, there is treatment available which hopefully will reduce the risk and speed of sight deterioration.
If you ever experience any sudden pain in your eye, see misty rainbow rings around white lights, vision declines and you feel nauseous, you may be experiencing an attack of acute glaucoma – this will require immediate emergency treatment at the hospital.
This is a common condition that in most cases can be treated. It is often associated with getting older.
The lens in our eyes can become misty as the fluid changes causing less light to get through the lens, this will cause the vision to appear blurry. Colours may start to appear washed out and bright lights may appear to be more dazzling or glare more than they did before.
If you become aware of any changes to your vision please ensure to book an appointment with your optometrist.
This occurs because diabetes affects the small blood vessels at the back of the eye. If these become blocked or leak, your vision can be affected. If the blood vessels are only mildly affected, they may bulge, or leak fluid or blood, but as long as the macula is not affected, your vision may be normal. If retinopathy progresses and becomes more severe, or affects the macula, your vision may become “patchy” and your central vision will be affected. The image shows a fairly advanced stage of the condition.
As retinopthy is such a common complication for diabetics, the NHS offer retinal screening. It is important that you attend these screenings because early detection can lead to treatment that could minimise any damage caused by leaking blood vessels.
This is a the name given to a group of conditions that affects the retina, overtime the retinal cells die and as they do so the level of vision will decrease. Most forms of RP are genetic based. RP is a very personal condition depending on what genes / cells are affected and this is reflected in how your vision changes over time. This image shows a very advanced stage of the condition with only some central vision left.
This is a loss of one side of the visual field. This form of sight loss is mostly associated with stroke but other severe brain injuries. In some cases the vision may return in time. Often people with this form of sight loss find navigating their environment very difficult as they are not fully aware of what they are not seeing.
What can you do to help yourself?
Have an eye test every 2 years even if you feel there is nothing wrong with your vision, the optician may pick up early signs of disease and in some cases, early detection can help to lower the risk of losing your sight.
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