Vision doesn’t usually just disappear overnight. Instead, it gradually declines over time. Because of this, we aren’t always aware that our eyesight is declining until an irritant plagues our vision and sends us to the doctor for an overdue eye exam.
“That’s why a baseline exam at age 40 is important,” says San Francisco ophthalmologist Andrew Iwach, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “You may not have major symptoms, yet have a major problem.”
Below are 4 warning signs of vision loss that you don’t want to ignore.
1. One minute you see clearly, the next everything is blurry.
One possible cause of this fluctuating clarity is diabetic retinopathy. Your vision problems may be due to uncontrolled type 2 diabetes or uncontrolled high blood pressure. These chronic conditions can damage the fine blood vessels of the retina and result in vision loss.
If you are noticing changes in the clarity of your vision, and have trouble reading, sewing or performing other near-sight tasks, check with your physician to rule out diabetes or high blood pressure.
2. You were recently in a car accident.
Although there are a number of variables that can cause a traffic accident, one common cause is loss of peripheral vision, which can be a symptom of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the optic nerve and gradually worsens over time. It is often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. According to a 2011 Review of Ophthalmology report, drivers who suffer from glaucoma are at an increased risk of traffic accidents. Another study found that when glaucoma patients were paired with a driving instructor, they required six times more interventions from the instructor than the control group.
If you find yourself repeatedly bumping into people or things, you may be losing your peripheral vision. Glaucoma can easily be diagnosed during routine eye exams.
3. An irritating dark patch appears at the center of your vision.
If you notice a gradual loss of your central vision, it could be caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness among people over age 50. Although there is currently no cure for AMD, a less common form of the disease called “wet macular degeneration,” can be treated with lasers.
If you are seeing wavy lines instead of straight lines, are having trouble reading street signs, have noticed changes to your color perception, or find yourself struggling to “see around” a dark patch at the center of your vision, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor right away.
4. You notice a brownish tint to your vision.
This type of vision change may be due to cataracts, which tend to worsen gradually over time. In fact, cataracts are so common among seniors that by age 80 over half will either have cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery. Although not a medical emergency, cataracts that are left untreated can result in blindness.
If your eyesight becomes cloudy and blurred, you notice “halos” around lights at night, or you are experiencing a loss of bright color vision, then you may be suffering from a cataract.
Because eye problems and vision loss become increasingly common as we age, any difference in what is normal for you merits a call to your physician and likely an eye exam.
If your vision loss is affecting your ability to live independently, then Home Care Assistance can help. Home Care Assistance specializes in high quality, affordable live-in care.
Call 1-866-454-8346 or visit www.homecareassistance.com to get started today!
For more early warning signs of vision loss visit: http://www.caring.com/articles/early-warning-signs-of-vision-loss?utm_content=20140520&utm_campaign=website&utm_source=suggests&utm_medium=email