Did you know that 80 percent of what you perceive comes from your sight? Your eyesight is the most complex and dominant sense, which makes it incredibly important for everyday functioning. To keep your vision healthy, you should see the eye doctor regularly, eat a balanced diet and take the appropriate vitamins (at the discretion of your doctor).
Another part of having healthy vision is knowing your risk factors and being screened for certain retinal diseases based on your health history. Below are the five most common retinal diseases you should know about in 2022.
1. Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over 60. It happens when the macula, the central part of your retina, wears down. While it won’t cause total blindness, it does cause severe vision problems and difficulty with color perception. There’s no cure for macular degeneration, but there are a variety of treatment options that can help slow the progression.
2. Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels. Typically, there are no symptoms or only mild vision problems, causing some people to overlook the condition. Over time, however, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. The best way to reduce your risk for diabetic retinopathy is by controlling blood sugar levels.
3. Retinal Detachment
Retinal detachment is a true medical emergency that occurs when the retina pulls away from its normal position. The longer the retina is detached, the greater chance for permanent vision loss. The warning signs of retinal detachment include floaters, flashes of light and reduced vision. Surgery is used to repair the detachment, and it should be done a few days after the diagnosis.
4. Epiretinal Membrane
An epiretinal membrane is a delicate tissue-like scar that forms on top of the retina. If it spreads over to the macula, it can cause distorted vision. ERMs can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam. If the scar is significant, surgery may be required. However, only about 15 percent of ERMs require surgery – most people are able to live comfortably with the condition.
5. Retinitis Pigmentosa
RP is a genetic condition that involves a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina. Early symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of peripheral (side) vision. RP is considered a rare disorder, and the progression varies depending on the person and the genes affected. There is no cure for RP – treatment is typically focused on improving quality of life with limited vision.
Retinal diseases vary widely, but most cause a loss of vision. Treatment is available for some retinal diseases, but not all. Depending on your condition, your retinal specialist may work toward slowing the disease and preserving your vision. To schedule an appointment with a retinal disease specialist in New York, contact Empire Retina Consultants.