What Are The Causes Of Visual Impairment? Top Eye Diseases To Look Out For
2022-10-18 | By Orcam Staff
Approximately 2.2 billion people around the world suffer from visual impairment. Visual impairment may result from many causes including eye diseases; however, once your vision deteriorates, it can be impossible to get it back.
What are the main causes of visual impairment and blindness? And how can we prevent it from happening to us?
What Is The Difference Between Visual Impairment And Blindness?
Visual impairment refers to any vision limitation or low vision that cannot be corrected with usual means like glasses or medication.
Since low vision is often caused by age-related eye diseases, macular degeneration, or glaucoma, for example- it is generally associated with the elderly population.
While visually-impaired people can see with difficulty, blind people are mostly unable to, due to injury, disease, or genetic condition. Blindness is considered a spectrum: those who can differentiate between night and day or see shapes, for example, are considered “Legally blind” while others who cannot see anything are “Totally blind”.
What Are The Most Common Eye Diseases?
There are roughly 4 million legally blind Americans over the age of 40, and the leading causes of blindness and low vision are age-related eye diseases.
Macular Degeneration – an eye disorder associated with aging which results in damaged sharp and central vision.
Cataract – a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens and is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, as well as the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. Cataracts can occur at any age from a variety of causes, and can be present at birth.
Glaucoma – a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma can also be found in children, just like the eye disease Amblyopia (a medical term used when vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly).
Diabetic Retinopathy – a common complication of diabetes characterized by progressive damage to the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that is necessary for good vision.
These are just a few of the hundreds of different eye diseases and disorders. Eye disease can appear for many reasons: genes, aging, injury, or even stress. Although these diseases usually “greet” us with some early symptoms, it often goes unnoticed. Some of these diseases have no cure, and early detection can make all the difference.
How Can You Prevent Blinding Eye Diseases?
When was the last time you had your eyes checked? Awareness is the first step in preventing sickness and health problems. The sooner vision loss or eye disease is discovered and treated, the greater your chances of keeping your remaining vision. Search for an optometrist in your area, look up “eye exam near me”, and schedule a test by an eye care professional.
Knowing your family’s eye health history is also important, since many eye diseases are hereditary. Ask family members about diagnoses, eye diseases, or conditions.
It is also necessary to eat well and maintain a healthy weight. Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels, since 90% of diabetes-related blindness can be prevented. Smoking also increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.
Our Top Eye Care Tips
Even if you are not at risk, it is always good to take extra precautions:
When working in front of computers, give your eyes a rest. When in the sun, wear protective eyewear. Sunglasses are cool! Look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
Eat a diet rich in vegetables such as spinach, kale, or collard greens—it is not a myth! Food can keep your eyes healthy too!
Assistive Technology Changes Lives For The Visually Impaired
Looking for gifts for the blind for this upcoming holiday season?
The OrCam MyEye, our smart vision aid, enables hundreds of thousands of people around the world. This tiny device can read printed or digital text, recognize faces, scan barcodes, identify bills, and more! Vision made audible.