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Advice on how to look after your eyesight
Our eyesight is precious, and we should never take it for granted. But often, it isn’t until a problem arises that we reflect on just how precious it really is.
Common vision problems affect a large percentage of the global population. Some issues may be considered minor to begin with, but if left untreated, they can cause serious eye problems and permanent damage to your vision.
Regular eye screening for certain age groups and medical conditions is the most important thing you can do to protect the health of your eyes. Many eye issues are much easier to treat when caught early. Here, we explore the 5 most common vision problems in adults, and how they can be prevented.
A refractive error occurs when your eye is unable to focus clearly, leading to blurred vision. It is a very common eye problem, but in severe cases, can lead to visual impairment.
When light rays enter the eye, the cornea, lens and eyeball are all shaped so that the rays bend and land on your retina correctly. In refractive errors the light rays land off the retina, and vision is blurred.
There are several types of refractive errors:
Routine eye exams are the best way to manage refractive errors and to prevent permanent vision problems from developing in some cases. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi recommends adults have routine eye exams after the age of 40. Patients with refractive errors may require reevaluation every 2 years, and this should be more frequent if you suffer from severe degrees of refractive error or if you have any other eye problems.
Glaucoma is caused if pressure within the eyeball increases. Fluid fills the space within the eye, but if there is too much fluid, the pressure increases and damages the optic nerve, limiting peripheral vision initially, and central vision later.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness around the world, but regular eye examinations, which allow your doctor to monitor the pressure within the eyeball, can prevent vision loss.
A condition associated with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy causes the retinal blood vessels to leak, bleed or even grow in an abnormal way. This can cause blurry vision. It can even lead to retinal detachment.
If you are diabetic, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels are key to preventing diabetic retinopathy. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi recommends regular eye examinations to detect and treat the condition early, and prevent vision loss, low vision or blindness.
Another common eye condition, cataract develops when your lens (the clear part behind your colored iris) becomes clouded or foggy. This stops light from passing through the lens, and your eye can’t focus it properly. Vision becomes blurred or you are unable to see properly. The severity depends on how dense the cataract is and where it is located.
Protecting your eyes from harmful UV light and avoiding smoking can help to prevent cataract. Developing cataract is a typical part of ageing, so regular screening is advised to ensure treatment can be given in a timely manner.
A condition that is usually diagnosed in younger adults and teenagers, keratoconus causes the cornea to weaken and change shape. Light rays do not enter the eye in the right way and vision becomes distorted. Patients notice a blurring, ‘halos’ appearing at night, light streaking and an increased sensitivity to light.
Keratoconus can lead to permanent vision loss if it is not treated. Regular eye exams are key to identifying the problem early when the condition is easier to treat.
Your eyesight is one of your most valuable assets – look after your eyes and prevent long-term vision issues by attending regular eye examinations. If you think you may be affected by any of the conditions listed above, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
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