The eyes are a very fragile body organ, which is prone to various disorders. Not only are they affected by specific diseases of the eyes, but they can also be affected by other more general disorders that occur in the rest of the body, such as autoimmune rheumatic diseases.
Of course, the magnitude of these complications can vary, but there are several diseases that cause irreparable blindness. It is important to know what they are and know their symptoms in order to act in time and prevent complications such as loss of vision as much as possible.
What diseases can make you blind?
To begin with, it must be remembered that there are several types of blindness. In this case, we are talking about legal blindness, which involves the loss of 80% of visual capacity and, therefore, prevents people who suffer from it from being able to function on a daily basis with normality and autonomy.
Another characteristic of this level of vision loss is that it cannot be fixed with tools, drugs, or surgery. Blindness usually occurs as a result of various diseases that, as we mentioned, usually develop imperceptibly until their impact on vision is too great. Some of these diseases have a solution, but in other cases the only way to avoid them is prevention.
Cataracts are a visual pathology that generates an opacity in the lens, usually white. This disorder impedes vision, creating an effect similar to looking through fogged glass. In general, cataracts appear gradually and at first, they do not hinder vision, so it is important to go regularly to the ophthalmologist for eye exams and detect them in time.
In addition to cloudy vision, cataracts also bring other symptoms such as worsening night vision, increased sensitivity to light and glare, and even seeing halos around lights or needing a brighter, more intense light bulb for reading and reading. perform other activities.
As the experts of God Service Eye Clinic said, these difficulties in vision at the beginning can only occur in a small part of the eye, but as the cataract develops, the lens becomes more cloudy, preventing more light from passing through.
Although in many places cataracts have less and less impact on eye health thanks to the daily operation of cataracts, the reality is that worldwide they are the main cause of blindness among individuals over the age of 40.
Glaucoma is a disorder that causes damage to the optic nerve, the connection that communicates the images captured by the retina with the brain. Therefore, one of the most direct consequences of this disease is blindness.
This disease arises from increased pressure in the eyeball due to problems with the drainage of the aqueous humour from the eye. This increase in pressure damages the optic nerve, preventing the correct communication of the eye organ with the brain and causing loss of vision.
There are two types of glaucoma depending on the affected angle:
The process is very gradual, it does not present specific symptoms such as changes in vision or redness of the eye until it is very advanced.
It usually develops very acutely, with a sudden increase in ocular tension that generates a decrease in visual capacity, intense pain, and redness of the eye. Other symptoms are the vision of halos around lights, pupil dilation, and even nausea and vomiting.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide and can affect people of all ages, with a special risk in people over 60 years of age. The damage caused by glaucoma is completely irreversible, so the key to treatment lies in prevention and early diagnosis to prevent it from increasing. In cases with poor pharmacological control, patients can undergo glaucoma surgery.
Poor control of diabetes can cause many complications and one of the serious ones is diabetic retinopathy. This disorder arises from the deterioration of the blood vessels that reach the retina, which makes it difficult for blood to circulate and causes blindness.
It should be noted that this complication is avoidable. Having diabetes does not imply a sentence of blindness if the disease is well controlled if healthy lifestyle habits are followed and if the doctor is consulted for proper follow-up. Still, unfortunately, this is the main cause of blindness in most developed countries.
As with other diseases that can cause blindness, the early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms. It is not until the disorder progresses that symptoms appear such as blurred or variable vision, the appearance of floating bodies such as spots or threads, areas of dark vision or, directly, loss of vision. There are different treatment options that can be carried out, depending on the area (it can affect the macula or its periphery) and the degree of development of the disease.
Some of these possibilities are laser photocoagulation, intravitreal injections or lanvitrectomy, which is surgery.
Are there treatments for these blinding diseases?
As we have seen, some of these blinding diseases, such as cataracts, have treatments to restore vision, but many of them are irreversible. Of course, this is not to say that they are not avoidable. The key to most of these diseases is prevention.
To reduce the chances of them arising, it is important to lead healthy lifestyles and go regularly to the ophthalmologist for periodic check-ups. Only good control and early diagnosis can make blindness preventable.