When you reach the age of 40, you may start noticing a lack of definition whenever you look closely at an object. And as you continue to age, you may find the need for more frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. Though getting older is one of the contributing factors to vision decline in Phoenix, AZ and throughout the world, there is more to it than meets the eye. In fact, low vision may be a symptom of a more serious ocular disease, such as the following:
1. Macular Degeneration
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss, which affects more than 11 million Americans 60 years and older. The ocular disorder is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, otherwise known as the macula or back layer of the eye that records everything you see and sends them through the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The macula is solely responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. It controls your ability to recognize faces or colors, and see objects in detail.
If you have AMD, you cannot see fine details whether you are looking at something at a close or far distance. However, your peripheral vision will remain normal. For instance, imagine that you are looking at a pond surrounded by greenery. With AMD, you will be able to see the leaves and trees, but not the entirety of the pond. It will appear as if there is a black hole or very thick fog in the middle of what you are looking at.
2. Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and is among the leading causes of blindness in American adults. The eye disorder is due to the changes in the blood vessels of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, and a healthy retina is necessary for excellent vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is a gradually developing disease that may initially leave very little to no changes to your vision. However, over time, it can worsen and cause vision loss of both eyes. In some patients with diabetic retinopathy, the blood vessels show can swell and leak fluid. In others, abnormal new blood vessels propagate on the surface of the retina.
3. Intraocular Melanoma
Intraocular Melanoma is a disease indicating that malignant cells inhibit the tissues of the eye. Old age is a significant risk factor for intraocular melanoma. The ocular disorder begins in the middle of three layers of the eye — The Cornea and Sclera, the Uveal Tract, and the Retina.
Much like diabetic retinopathy, intraocular melanoma may not manifest early signs or symptoms. But floaters, dark spots in the iris, changes in vision, and several other indicators may be detected during an eye checkup.
Get the comprehensive eye exam you need
Everyone over the age of 40 should visit an eye care specialist for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Many ocular disorders show no symptoms or warning signs, but a dilated exam can detect early stages of an eye disease before blindness occurs.
Early detection and treatment is the only way to save your sight. Call Arizona Retinal Specialists today at 623-474-3937 to schedule your annual dilated eye examination. We are the leading provider of age-related eye disease treatments in Sun City, Arizona and the surrounding areas.