A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window.
Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend's face.
Most cataracts develop slowly and don't disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.
At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It's caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). At first, diabetic retinopathy may cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. Eventually, however, diabetic retinopathy can result in blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy can develop in anyone who has type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop diabetic retinopathy.
To protect your vision, take prevention seriously. Start by carefully controlling your blood sugar level and scheduling yearly eye exams with your optometrist.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. It causes minimal irritation to inflammation of the anterior (front) tissues of the eye.
Dry eyes also are described by the medical term, keratitis sicca, which generally means decreased quality or quantity of tears.
Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye's optic nerve and gets worse over time. It's often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.
The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.
The macula is a tiny circle in the middle of the retina, a light-sensitive membrane that lines the inside of the back of the eye. In older people, it sometimes begins to deteriorate or degenerate for unknown reasons. Women are believed to be more at risk than men. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of legal blindness in Canada, accounting for 34% of cases. However, macular degeneration rarely leaves you totally unable to see.
There are two types of this disease:
Dry macular degeneration accounts for about 90% of cases. The tissue of the retina shrinks and pigments accumulate inside of it. Dry macular degeneration can progress to the wet form.