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What Are The Main Causes Of Blindness?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

About 39 million people around the world currently live without sight.

Why so many? What causes it?

There are several reasons people become blind, which we will delve into below. Hopefully, by spreading awareness about the causes of blindness and ways to prevent it, Switalski Eye Care in Plano will help people like you preserve their vision for a lifetime. Call today to schedule your eye exam.

Top Causes of Blindness

1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This eye disease is the leading cause of near-vision impairment in people over the age of 50. Patients living with AMD often lose part or all of their central vision, making it hard to perform daily tasks like driving, recognizing faces, and watching television.

2. Cataracts

A cataract occurs when the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud. While most people associate cataracts with advanced age, they can actually occur at any point in a person’s life, and for a variety of reasons. Risk factors for cataracts include genetics, age, radiation, trauma, and certain medications.

An estimated 17% of North Americans above the age of 40 have cataracts. Fortunately, they are easily removed through surgery. Left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness.

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by increased ocular pressure. The two most common forms are open-angle glaucoma and closed- angle glaucoma. Open-angle is more common and typically progresses silently over a long period of time. Closed-angle glaucoma is a more painful and acute form of the disease. All forms of glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness.

Early detection and treatment are key in preventing vision loss from glaucoma.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

DR is a complication of diabetes that occurs when excess sugar in the blood damages the retina’s blood vessels. There are 4 stages of DR, with the first stages rarely presenting noticeable symptoms. In many cases the condition can be managed and treated by your eye doctor, especially if caught early on.

Regular dilated eye exams are crucial for patients with diabetes, as it helps ensure the earliest possible detection of DR.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vision Care

Q: What does it mean to be ‘legally blind’?

  • A: People often assume those who are blind are unable to see anything. The truth is that to be considered legally blind, a person’s eyesight must be 20/200 — in other words, you’d need to stand 20 feet away from an object that one with healthy vision could see at a distance of 200 feet away. Furthermore, those who are legally blind cannot correct their vision with glasses or contact lenses.

Q: Can blindness be reversed?

  • A: Certain types of blindness are reversible. In cases of cataracts, corneal diseases, wet AMD and some instances of diabetic retinopathy, surgery, injections, and other treatments can return at least some sight to an individual who has experienced vision loss. On the other hand, diseases like glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and dry age-related macular degeneration can cause irreversible vision loss.

Quality Frames For Prescription Glasses & Computer Glasses


As you may have noticed, the underlying theme in preventing all of these sight-threatening conditions is early detection. By undergoing yearly comprehensive eye exams, you stand a higher chance of keeping your eyes and vision healthy for the long term.

To schedule your annual comprehensive eye exam, call Switalski Eye Care in Plano today.

Refs
https://ibvi.org/blog/what-are-the-main-causes-of-blindness/

15 Things You Do That Can Harm Your Eyes

Eye health isn’t just about going for that yearly eye exam. Certain actions you take (or don’t take) in your daily routine can also have drastic effects on the health of your eyes and vision. Here’s our list of 15 things you may be doing that could pose damaging risks to your eyes.

It’s important to note that before changing any of your habits, consult with a medical professional to make sure they are right for you and your overall health.

1. Smoking

We all know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, but its effects on the eyes are far less known to many. The truth is that smoking can actually lead to irreversible vision loss by significantly increasing the risk of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. It can also cause dry eye syndrome. If you are a smoker, do your eyes (and body) a favor and try to kick or reduce the habit.

2. Not Wearing Sunglasses

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful UV radiation can damage the eye’s cornea and lens. Overexposure to UV rays can also lead to cataracts and even eye cancer. That’s why it’s important to always wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors, all four seasons of the year. Always check the sunglasses have FDA approval.

3. Sleeping with Makeup On

When you sleep with eyeliner or mascara, you run the risk of the makeup entering the eye and irritating the cornea. Sleeping with mascara on can introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause an infection. Abrasive glitters and shimmery eyeshadow can scratch the cornea as well. Be careful to remove all makeup with an eye-safe makeup remover before going to bed.

4. Buying Decorative Contact Lenses Without a Prescription

Although ordering decorative lenses without first visiting your optometrist may sound more convenient, purchasing them without a prescription isn’t worth the long term risks. Decorative contact lenses are sometimes made by unlicensed manufacturers who tend to use poor-quality or toxic materials that can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of microorganisms from unsanitary packaging and storage conditions.

5. Not Washing Your Hands Thoroughly

Frequently washing your hands helps to reduce the possibility of bacteria and viruses entering the eye. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) and corneal ulcers are common eye conditions that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water, soap, and thoroughly wash in between each finger and over the entire palm area. If you plan to insert or remove your contact lenses, wash and then dry your hands completely with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

6. Overwearing Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses for longer periods of time than intended can lead to inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), conjunctivitis, eyelid swelling, and contact lens intolerance. Always follow the recommended wear time as instructed by your optometrist.

7. Being Nutrient Deficient

Poor nutrition can cause permanent damage to the visual system. Try to include lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with adequate amounts of Omega-3. Some of the best vitamins and nutrients for eye health include Vitamins A, C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.

8. Using Non-FDA Approved Products

Whether it’s eyebrow enhancers, eye makeup, or eyelash growth serums, always choose products that have been FDA approved and/or meet government safety regulations. Non-approved products have been known to cause infections or allergic reactions in or around the eye area.

9. Not Cleaning Your Contacts Properly

If you are wearing contact lenses that need to be replaced once every two weeks or once a month, maintaining the highest level of contact lens hygiene is essential. Optometrists will tell you that a common reason patients come in to see them is due to an eye infection from contact lenses that haven’t been properly cleaned or stored. Some patients use their contact lens cases for too long, which can also cause eye irritation. To avoid eye infections, carefully follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to clean, store, and handle your contact lenses.

10. Showering or Swimming with Contact Lenses

There is a significant amount of bacteria that can be carried in tap water and swimming pools. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that water and contact lenses don’t mix. If you need vision correction while swimming, it may be worth investing in a pair of prescription swimming goggles.

11. Not Following Medication Instructions

When it comes to eye disease, following the medication instructions is crucial. Forgetting to insert eye drops, or administering the incorrect dosage could dramatically reduce the effectiveness of treatment, or even do harm. Speak with your eye doctor if you’re not sure about when or how to take your medication.

12. Not Taking a Holistic Approach

Your eyes are just one part of the whole system — your body. Ignoring health conditions you may have, like high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar, can pose serious risks to your eyes.

13. Not Wearing Protective Eyewear

Shielding your eyes with protective glasses or goggles while working with potentially sharp or fast-moving objects, fragments or particles (wood working, cutting glass, welding, doing repairs with nails, certain sports) is the best defense against eye injury. In fact, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

14. Using Unsafe Home Remedies

Some might think that because something is “natural” that it is safe for use around the delicate eye area. Home remedies, like using breastmilk to cure pink eye, could introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause infection. If your eyes are giving you trouble, make an appointment to see your local optometrist.

15. Skipping Your Recommended Eye Exam

Your eye doctor will advise you how often you need to come for an eye examination. Adults should visit their eye doctor at least every year for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether their optical prescription is up-to-date, and to check for the beginning stages of eye disease. Catching eye diseases in their early stages offers the best chance of successful treatment and preserving healthy vision for life.

At Switalski Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 972-424-2019 or book an appointment online to see one of our Plano eye doctors.

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