We all know how important it is to eat right, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. But, it’s also important to see your doctor for an annual checkup. Routine medical visits can help doctors diagnose and treat serious medical conditions. Some serious medical conditions can lead to vision loss, and if they’re detected early enough, your doctor can help manage or treat the condition. Below you’ll find the most common health conditions that can lead to vision loss and risk factors to watch for.
According to the American Diabetes Association, living with diabetes can put you at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when blood vessels in the retina become swollen or leak when blood sugar levels are too high. In severe cases, new blood vessels can form and create scar tissue which blocks vision. Monitoring your blood sugar and blood pressure levels can help prevent retinopathy.
If your vision is blurry, you could be suffering from cataracts. This happens when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. The National Eye Institute reports risk factors such as smoking, heavy drinking, diabetes and UV light exposure can lead to cataracts. In some cases, surgery is needed to help correct vision once cataracts have developed.
People who report that their peripheral (side) vision is diminishing may suffer from glaucoma.
The American Optometric Association notes when high fluid pressure in the eye builds up over time it has the potential to damage the optic nerve. Other symptoms include eye pain and redness, seeing halos around bright lights and tunnel vision. While lost eyesight cannot be restored, preventive measures can protect the remaining vision.
Partial vision loss could be attributed to macular degeneration. As you age, the small center portion of the retina (macula) can start to deteriorate, causing dry and wet form. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation describes dry form as yellow deposits known as drusen, appearing in the macula and wet form as abnormal blood vessel growth behind the retina. Smoking and being overweight can increase your risk, as well as having light-colored irises.
All the conditions listed above share a common characteristic—no early warning signs. Getting an annual eye exam can help detect health conditions before they progress. If you need to visit an eye doctor for your annual eye exam, but don’t have insurance, consider a VSP Individual Vision Plan. It’s insurance you can buy on your own and it covers everything you’d expect from a vision plan: an eye exam, frames, lenses and more. Visit VSPDirect.com or call 800.785.0699 to learn more or enroll.
This is a guest post written by VSP employee Frances Preziosi.
Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Vision Care’s blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.