Signs and downsides of when eyes are going bad

As people age, they are at higher risk for certain eye diseases and conditions that can cause low vision and impact quality of life. These include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Lighthouse Guild, a not-for-profit eyesight and healthcare organization, notes the key to safeguarding sight is early detection of problems. Here’s what to watch for:

  • Concerning symptoms include loss of central and/or peripheral vision, blurred or hazy vision. or night blindness.
  • A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Cataracts cause vision loss and are common in older people. Surgery is the only effective treatment, and it’s one of the most common surgeries in the United States.
  • Glaucoma can cause fluid and pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve. It first affects peripheral vision, but can lead to total lost eyesight without treatment.
  • AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among adults over 50. It gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision. A variety of treatments can help reduce the risk of vision loss in people with AMD.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Timely detection and treatment can reduce the risk of vision loss by 95 percent.
  • People with a family history of macular degeneration and glaucoma are at greater risk of developing the conditions.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, see your ophthalmologist or optometrist. While many age-related eye diseases and conditions have no warning signs, they can be detected in their early stages during a comprehensive eye exam,” said Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, chief of low-vision services at Lighthouse Guild.

Many lifestyle factors can also help protect vision. They include eating a balanced diet (including dark, leafy greens and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising; getting enough sleep to rest and lubricate the eyes; keeping diabetes under control; and wearing sunglasses and a brimmed hat outdoors.


Source: Lighthouse Guild (