Numerous eye diseases affect a varying range of individuals of different ages, ethnicities, and family health histories. Eye health is one of the most important investments someone can make in ensuring a healthy and happy quality of life.

Living in a visual world, it is imperative to ensure eye care is made a priority, as deteriorating eye health can lead to other serious health concerns. Listed below are a few eye diseases that need to be addressed during your eye exam.

Having eye concerns in Columbia, Missouri? Schedule an appointment with us to examine your eye health.

Now, let’s jump into it…

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is an emergency that needs immediate medical attention. In a retinal detachment the retina is pulled away from the normal position where it is attached to the globe and photoreceptors in the eye. This causes oxygen and nutrient supply to be cut off and can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated in a timely manner.

Symptoms

Retinal detachment is painless, however, warning signs of the separation become clear early on.

  • Appearance of floaters (specks that drift through your line of sight)
  • Flashes of light in your vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduction in peripheral vision
  • A shadow over your vision

Causes

  • Rhegmatogenous – A hole or tear is formed in the retina, and fluid fills inside the eye, pushing the retina away from the connective tissue. The most common reason for rhegmatogenous is aging.
  • Tractional – Often seen in diabetic patients, scar tissue builds along the surface of the retina’s surface, causing the retina to separate from eye tissue.
  • Exudative – Fluid pools beneath the retina with no tears or holes present, and causes detachment of the different layers of retina in the eye. Often exudative detachment results from age-related macular degeneration, eye injury, tumors, and inflammation.

(Many eye conditions don’t show initial symptoms, therefore having regular eye exams is recommended.) 

Diabetic Retinopathy

A resulting complication from diabetes, damaged blood vessels leak and damage the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can stem from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and the longer blood sugar is poorly managed, the greater the chances of developing retinopathy. If not treated, blindness can occur.

Symptoms

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms are often not noticeable in the early stages.

  • Spots floating in your line of vision (floaters)
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Dark areas in your line of vision
  • Loss of vision

Causes

The excess of sugar in the blood can lead to blockage of blood vessels around the retina. Two forms of diabetic retinopathy can occur: Nonproliferative and Proliferative.

  • Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – In this version of diabetic retinopathy the blood vessels are leaking but new blood vessels have not formed to provide oxygen to the rest of the retina (yet).
  • Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy – This more severe form of diabetic retinopathy, stimulates the growth of new, unhealthy blood vessels around the retina which leak very easily. With the vessel leakage, this version of diabetic retinopathy can quickly lead to glaucoma, macular scarring, and blindness.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic eye condition where a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina occurs. As the condition alters how light is absorbed into the eye, treatment can help eyesight loss occur at a slower rate. However, in severe instances, individuals eventually experience complete vision loss.

Symptoms

Signs of symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa usually show at some point in childhood, as children have difficulty moving around in the dark.

  • Night blindness
  • Tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision)
  • Difficulty seeing colors
  • Sensitivity to bright lights

Causes

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetically inherited condition that affects roughly 1 out of every 4,000 people worldwide. It is likely that someone with retinitis pigmentosa has a family member who also has the disease.

Lattice Degeneration

Lattice degeneration is a rare condition that centers around abnormal thinning of the retina. This thinning makes the retina susceptible to tears, holes, and breaks in the retina lining, which can lead to retinal detachment. Lattice degeneration is often found on the outer ring of the retina.

Symptoms

Lattice degeneration does not show symptoms in itself and is only diagnoseable through full dilated eye exams.

Causes

About 8 percent of the general American population will suffer from the condition at some point in their lifetime. The exact cause of lattice degeneration is not yet clear, however, the condition does seem to be present in certain genetic pools, as it can bunch together in families. The condition is also more common in individuals with moderate to severe nearsightedness. Lattice can lead to retinal detachments

(Optometrists can identify eye conditions before irreparable damage is done.) 

Hypertensive Retinopathy

Hypertensive retinopathy is a condition in which high blood pressure can damage blood vessels inside the retina and lead to more problematic conditions like retinal detachment. Specifically, high blood pressure may shrink and narrow the blood vessels around the retina and limit blood flow to the tissue. This may cause the retina to become inflamed.

Symptoms

Symptoms for hypertensive retinopathy are often silent until further progression has occurred. However, possible signs to look out for include:

  • Reduced vision
  • Eye swelling
  • Burst blood vessels
  • Headaches
  • Double vision

Causes

High blood pressure is the leading cause of hypertensive retinopathy. Triggers to high blood pressure include:

  • Lack of physical activity
  • Overweight
  • Poor diet
  • Stress

Get Your Eyes Checked in Columbia, MO

Eyes are one of the most sensitive and important organs in the body. Maintaining good eye health is something to prioritize in even the most hectic schedule. Contact us today to make an appointment, and we will take care of all your vision concerns and questions.