Diseases of the Eye
Glaucoma is a disease affecting the optic nerve, which is responsible for capturing and transferring visual images to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve can create "blind spots," which typically go unnoticed until damage to the optic nerve is severe. Left untreated, glaucoma can result in blindness. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.
The good news is that a simple test administered by your ophthalmologist can determine if you have glaucoma, so make it a rule to have regular check-ups, even if you have no symptoms. When caught early, glaucoma can be effectively treated and managed, usually without surgery. In most cases, eye drops are sufficient to arrest glaucoma's progress in its tracks.
Diabetes is host to a number of diseases, and diabetes mellitus ushers in the possibility of a condition called retinopathy, which is damage to the optic nerve, the posterior area of the eye that senses light. The early stage of the disease, commonly known as background retinopathy, causes the retina to leak blood or fluid, which can lead to swelling or the formation of deposits. Left untreated, it can progress to a condition known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, which can result in inadequate blood flow to areas of the eye, often resulting in severe vision loss.
You can greatly lower your risk of vision impairment by strictly controlling your blood sugar and seeing your ophthalmologist for regular testing to catch the disease early. Highly effective treatments are available to protect your vision from damage now and throughout your life.
Macular Degeneration refers to the deterioration of the macula, an area in the retina that allows you to see the fine details needed for reading, driving and performing intricate tasks. It is not uncommon for it to develop as we age, a condition known as Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, which is the leading cause of severe vision loss among Caucasian seniors.
Most macular degeneration cases develop slowly, resulting in gradual sight impairment, but some can cause rapid and severe vision loss, so early detection is important. A simple test by your ophthalmologist can catch degeneration early, and effective treatments can help preserve your sight from further damage.
The Amsler Grid is used to test the macula, the very central part of the retina. The test is simple and uses a grid made of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines. Download it here to take the test.