Common Eye Problems That Lead to Blindness

  • Eye problems can include any damage or malfunction in the different parts of the eye.
  • When not treated early, eye problems can lead to blindness.
  • The leading causes of low vision and blindness can be related to aging and other diseases.

Eye diseases affect the eye’s different parts, such as the cornea, retina, lens, and optic nerve. The different eye disorders can also lead to low or loss of vision when not treated early.

Check here the different eye problems that can lead to vision loss.

1. Refractive Errors

Among Americans, refractive errors are the most frequent eye disorders accounting for about 150 million people. These refractive errors include nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism or having distorted vision at any distance, presbyopia or the loss of ability to focus up close, inability to read phone book letters, and having the need to hold newspapers further for better vision. Refractive errors can be corrected by wearing eyeglasses, contact lenses and undergoing eye surgery.

2. Macular Degeneration

With aging, the vision becomes less sharp and out of focus. This condition is referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The central vision functions to make the objects appear clearer and are often helpful in reading and driving. Among people aged 65 years and older, AMD is the leading cause of damage in the close-up vision and reading impairment. In macular degeneration, the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for giving objects a finer and clearer look, gets damaged.

The forms of AMD include dry and wet. In the dry form, the macula gets thinner, which results in blurred vision or loss of vision. It is the most common form and affects about 70-90 % of all people with AMD. Dry AMD can affect both eyes and progress more slowly than the wet form of AMD. The wet AMD form is characterized by a leaking macula caused by a blood vessel growing behind the retina, under the macula. The leakage, which contains fluid and blood, can scar eye blood vessels and result in rapid central vision loss.

3. Cataract

Cataracts are the leading cause of loss of vision in the United States and also worldwide. It is a condition wherein the eye lens becomes clouded. Cataracts can develop at any age due to several reasons.

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma includes any disease that affects the optic nerve of the eye. It develops when the fluid eye pressure increases. Glaucoma is categorized into two groups – the open-angle and the closed-angle. The open-angle category can progress slowly and show no sign of vision loss until the condition is very advanced. Although pain and discomfort caused by angle closure can appear suddenly, loss of vision can happen gradually.   

5. Diabetic Retinopathy

People with diabetes can suffer from eye problems as a result of the complications. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels of the retina in one or both eyes are damaged. It has four stages: mild nonproliferative, moderate nonproliferative, severe nonproliferative, and proliferative.

Diabetic retinopathy mostly affects American working adults aged 20-74 years old.   

6. Amblyopia

Commonly known as ‘lazy eye”, amblyopia is a condition when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and brain do not work together as they should be. The brain tends to favor one eye, which can lead to permanent one-eye vision impairment. Several conditions can also result in amblyopia, such as an imbalance in eye positions (strabismus) and greater refraction errors in one eye than the other. Amblyopia commonly affects children and young-middle aged adults.

Source: CDC