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Vision Loss: The Gradual Deterioration That Is Painless

Vision loss by definition is when a person begins to lose the ability to see clearly. The problem is because vision loss is painless and happens gradually over time, most people put off seeing an Optometrist until it's too late.

Although vision loss typically affects more than one eye, you may experience vision loss at varying rates in each eye. This allows your eyes to function properly with one eye until the other eye starts to lose function, too.

Gradual low vision can prevent you from doing daily activities comfortably like driving, reading, and even spending time with family.

Our goal is to educate you about the signs and causes to empower you to prevent or treat vision loss before it becomes untreatable.

Causes of Gradual Vision Loss

Vision loss such as trouble reading, driving, or focusing on close objects has several causes, with some of the main causes being:

1.  Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding of your eye's clear lens. For individuals with cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is difficult, making it more challenging to drive a car, read or see facial expressions.

Most cataracts occur gradually and don't affect your eyesight right at the beginning. But they will eventually hinder your vision.

In terms of treatment, powerful eyeglasses and lighting can help treat cataracts. However, if the problem interferes with your everyday activities, you may undergo surgery. Luckily, the surgery is effective and, of course, very safe!

2.  Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in Americans 50 years of age and older while advanced Age-related Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment in the world.

While the causes of this disease are complex, we know that being over the age of 60 and having a family history of AMD play a major role in someone’s likelihood of developing the condition. 

Although there is no known cure, the good news is that several of the risk factors of AMD are preventable. For example, smoking, being overweight, and having high blood pressure all increase a person’s risk for AMD. Therefore, taking care of your eye health  is essential in lowering your chances of developing the disease! 

3.  Chronic (primary) Open-angle Glaucoma

This condition is often picked up via screening. Plus, it occurs due to the continuous peripheral visual field loss and 'cupping' of the optic discs.

The treatment options depend on the damage level. If the patient's condition is advanced, very little can be done. That's why it's so important to make regular appointments with your eye doctor, especially if you are over 50 or have a family history of this disease.

4.  Diabetic Retinopathy 

This is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue behind the retina get damaged. Initially, the condition may not cause symptoms, but it can lead to blindness if left interested.

Managing diabetes carefully is the ideal way to avert this type of vision loss. A diabetic patient should see a doctor for a yearly eye test with dilation — even if you can see perfectly.

5.  Drugs, Toxins, or Nutritional Deficiency

Drugs and toxins can cause gradual vision loss. Let's take a look at a few: 

  • Antituberculous drugs such as isoniazid and ethambutol
  • Hydroxychloroquine and systemic steroids
  • Amiodarone
  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors
  • Tetracycline, tamoxifen, and isotretinoin
  • Smoking, alcohol, and nutritional deficiency
  • Tobacco-alcohol amblyopia
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Methanol poisoning

Diagnosing Vision Loss

You may not know that you have low vision, especially if it is happening slowly and causing you no pain.

Contact your doctor if you start to find it challenging to do your normal activities as a result. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you based on the cause and stage of your vision loss.

Preventing and Avoiding Vision Loss

We've talked many times on our blog about how you can prevent vision loss, but of course, it depends on the cause.

For instance, you may prevent diabetic retinopathy by managing type 2 diabetes properly. You can also prevent cataracts by putting on polarized sunglasses outdoors. Nonetheless, you can't fully prevent certain causes of vision loss such as genetics, but you can slow it the progress and find ways to keep your eyes comfortable.

Vision Loss Treatment

Your doctor can recommend specialists to treat gradual loss vision problems. Here are some specialists your doctor may recommend:

  • An optometrist to manage the vision loss
  • An ophthalmologist to treat the eye diseases that causes vision loss
  • A low vision specialist doctor to prescribe optical aids
  • An occupational therapist that specializes in the use of optical aids

There are also several promising treatments on the rise for vision loss problems that are currently untreatable, giving hope to those with low vision!

In the meantime, there are several corrective tools and surgical options that can help you manage vision loss. Once diagnosed, treatment of gradual vision loss is most often performed by a trained ophthalmologist.

Before and after treatment, your doctor may recommend protecting your eyes further by using  Dr. Lite lamps, the first doctor-recommended line of lighting specifically designed to block out the harmful blue light that contributes to vision loss.

If you or your loved ones are experiencing vision loss, please accept our 20% off low vision sale and give yourself or your family member the gift of clarity with Dr. Lite Lamps. 

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