Dangerous Eye Problems You Should Never Ignore

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Potentially serious conditions can go undetected without a comprehensive eye exam.

Only half of all American adults at high risk for vision loss went to an eye doctor in the last year.
Far too often, people will put off having an eye exam until they decide to get new eyewear or detect a change in their vision. Comprehensive exams help spot potentially serious eye problems early on, when treatment can still slow or prevent vision loss.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only half of an estimated 61 million American adults at high risk for serious vision loss went to an eye doctor in the past year. The American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommend that low-risk adults 60 years of age and under get a comprehensive eye exam every 24 months. Older adults and those who are at greater risk, such as people with diabetes, should get their eyes checked annually or as directed by their doctor.
The following are some common eye conditions that can go undetected without a thorough examination.
Like a camera, the eye has a lens that focuses light on the retina at the back of the eye. The lens can become cloudy (known as a cataract), limiting vision and making it difficult to read or drive, especially at night. As cataracts advance, you may have difficulty recognizing faces from a distance or reading street signs.
“Cataracts develop with age,” says Lisa Park, MD, an ophthalmologist and clinical associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Everyone will develop significant cataracts if we live long enough. It’s most common in people in their 70s.”
Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens with a new one. “It’s one of the most common ambulatory surgeries performed,” says Dr. Park. “Surgery takes place in the office, and you don’t need general anesthesia. The recovery is relatively quick.”
Trauma, inflammation in the eye, or other medical conditions, like diabetes, can cause cataracts to develop more quickly.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The macula is the small, central part of the retina, which is necessary for sharp, straight-ahead vision — the vision you need for reading or driving, says Michael Grodin, MD, co-director of retinal services and director of clinical research at the Katzen Eye Group in Baltimore.
“AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among people 60 and older,” Dr. Grodin says. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation estimates AMD affects more than 10 million Americans.
“There are two types of AMD,” Grodin explains. “Dry AMD [or atrophic] results from aging and thinning of the macula, and accounts for 80 percent of AMD cases. Twenty percent progress to wet AMD [neovascular]. Wet AMD can cause severe vision loss due to growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina, which leak blood and fluid.”……….
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Source: Everyday Health