Healthy aging and serious eye diseases

As you age, changes to your vision like needing reading glasses, or requiring brighter light to see small print are normal. But some types of vision loss aren’t normal. Unfortunately, many times because of the absence of warning signs,  serious eye diseases aren’t detected until some vision loss has occurred.

Early and regular comprehensive dilated eye exams at Lighthouse Guild can help in early detection of the following vision-threatening diseases:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects your macula, the part of the retina that allows you to see fine detail like reading and recognizing faces. Dry AMD is the slow breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the macula, which gradually blurs your central vision. It accounts for 85 to 90 percent of AMD cases. Wet AMD, when abnormal blood vessels grow under your macula, can lead to rapid central vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that injectable drugs that stop these blood vessels from forming have nearly halved the rate of Wet AMD-related blindness in some countries.
  • Cataracts are a clouding of your eye’s lens. Common symptoms include blurry vision, colors that seem faded, problems with glare from bright light, double vision or difficulty seeing well at night. New glasses and brighter lighting, as well as anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses can help  you deal with these functional vision problems that often occur with cataracts. If surgery is the best option, your eye doctor removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens.
  • Glaucoma mostly occurs when fluid pressure rises inside your eyes. The pressure damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to your brain, and can cause loss of peripheral, or side vision. Open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly: Because you don’t notice anything wrong until your vision is impacted this type of glaucoma is often called the “sneak thief of sight.” Closed-angle Glaucoma appears suddenly, and it causes pain and discomfort. Early detection of glaucoma and treatment with  eye drops or surgery can protect your vision.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes usually affecting both of your eyes, and can cause a combination of vision problems including blurred vision, central vision loss and side vision loss. Elevated blood sugar levels cause small blood vessels inside your retina to swell, leak fluid or completely close off. Your eye doctor treats diabetic retinopathy with surgery or laser surgery. If you are diabetic, be sure to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Also, make every effort to control your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

WHAT CAN I DO NEXT TO TAKE CARE OF MY EYES?

Call 212-769-6313 for Lighthouse Guild’s full service Optometric and Low Vision Clinic. It is a full service eye care center dedicated to diagnosing and treating eye disease. The clinic also provides comprehensive low vision services to children and adults with visual impairment.

Call 212-305-9535 for ColumbiaDoctors Ophthalmology’s Robert Burch Family Eye Center. It is located at Lighthouse Guild: 15 West 65th Street, 1st Floor, New York, NY 10023. The center is ColumbiaDoctors Ophthalmology’s third and newest location, where full-time faculty members provide cutting-edge eye and vision care, including pediatric ophthalmology.