The human eye, a marvel of biological engineering, lets you perceive the wonders of the world. However, maintaining their health is a critically important aspect that many tend to overlook. Dr Manuel Abreu will bring to light some common eye conditions that can affect your vision, emphasizing the quote, “Prevention is better than cure.”
Cataracts: The Clouded Vision
Chances are you’ve already heard about cataracts. It’s common, especially among the elderly, and is characterized by the clouding of the lens in your eye. This condition leads to blurry vision and difficulty with bright lights. Although cataracts develop slowly, they might eventually require surgical correction to restore clear vision. Regular eye check-ups allow for early detection and management.
Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, often due to an increment in ocular pressure. Dr Manuel Abreu believes that if left untreated, glaucoma can result in vision loss or complete blindness.
Alarmingly, symptoms often don’t show until considerable damage has already occurred, earning it the name “silent thief of sight.” Regular eye examinations, which include intraocular pressure measurement, can flag potential cases of glaucoma before irreversible damage occurs.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): A Vision’s Adversary
In AMD, the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates over time. This condition progresses with age and can blur or blind central vision. Typically affecting people over the age of 60, AMD is a major cause of irreversible vision loss in the elderly. Regular retinal examinations play a key role in early AMD detection.
Diabetic Retinopathy: The Price of High Sugar
Diabetic retinopathy is a dreadful complication of long-standing diabetes mellitus, where persistently high blood sugar levels can damage the capillaries supplying the retina. This effect can lead to leaky vessels, blurry vision, and if not managed, blindness. If you have diabetes, maintain excellent control of your blood sugars and attend regular eye examinations to stop this condition in its tracks.
Dry Eye: More Than Just a Discomfort
Dry eye syndrome is not just about occasional grittiness or dryness in the eyes. It’s an underappreciated condition where either you do not produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly. Symptoms include irritated, red, or fatigued eyes, coupled with heightened sensitivity to light.
If left untreated, chronic dry eye can lead to pain, ulcers, scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision. For Dr Manuel Abreu, regular use of lubricating eye drops is often a part of the management plan if you are prone to dry eyes.
Refractive Errors: The Need for Corrective Lenses
Many people around the world have refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (distorted vision). While not diseases per se, these errors require corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses) to bring the world into focus. Regular check-ups to update your prescription can ensure your eyewear continues to meet your needs.
Conjunctivitis: Not Just Another Red Eye
Commonly known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane lining your eye. Symptoms typically include reddish or pinkish eyes, increased tear production, yellow discharge, and itchiness. It’s important to seek medical help promptly as some types are highly contagious and can cause more significant problems, especially if left untreated.