Protecting your sight: What you need to know
Your vision may change as you get older, but it can also change much sooner than you think if you are not careful.
These are some ways to keep your eyes seeing longer.
From looking at TV to looking outside at nature, your eyes focus on 50 different objects per second. But your eyes aren't perfect; they can run into problems, for example, if you stare at your phone too long.
"That's high-energy visible light, but it's harmful, and that's what causes the digital eye strain," Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Alan Mendelsohn said.
Experts say if you feel weary, just take a break. If you are not careful, this could lead to red eyes and possibly pink eye.
"Vision becomes blurry, eyes become fatigued, sometimes red. It's very frequent to start getting headaches," Mendelsohn said.
To reduce the irritation, take a cool or warm towel to your eyes.
But not every cause is so easily fixed. Lazy eye, which causes vision to be weaker, requires surgery, and so does uveitis, which causes inflammation in the middle layer of your eye and cataracts.
"It's almost like having a stone inside your eye, and breaking that up sometimes requires a lot of energy. That energy is not good to the eye," said Dr. Sean Lanchulev, a New York eye and ear doctor.
If you don't take care of cataracts, that could lead to night blindness.
Finally, watch out for the sun. Not protecting your eyes could lead to excess tearing or floaters, which could be a sign of retinal detachment. So, wear those sunglasses for style and protection.
Contact wearers, beware! Do not wet them in your mouth, as it could lead to infection, and be sure that they fit properly to protect your eyes from being scratched.
PROTECTING YOUR SIGHT
BACKGROUND: Around 1.3 billion people around the world live with some form of distance or near vision impairment. Regarding distance vision, 188.5 million have mild vision impairment, 217 million have moderate to severe vision impairment, and 36 million people are blind. When it comes to near vision, 826 million people live with a near vision impairment. Having good ocular health means that vision is at least 20/20 or better with or without correction, and the eyes are disease-free. Ophthalmologists can provide total eye care, from examinations and vision correction to the diagnosis and treatment of disease through medication and surgery. By getting regular exams and discussing family history, your doctor is better able to anticipate, prevent, and treat eye disease. Not wearing your prescribed eyeglasses or contacts will not cause disease of the eye, but it can cause discomfort by eyestrain, headaches, or possibly injury brought on by the lack of safe vision. Constant exposure to ultraviolet rays can result in photochemical eye damage and wearing safety glasses and protective goggles while playing sports or working with hazardous or airborne materials lowers your risk for eye injury, damage to vision, and complete loss of sight. (Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment and https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/8560-ocular-health)
MOST COMMON EYE DISEASES AND TREATMENTS: Macular degeneration is the damage to the central portion of retina, known as the macula. There are no definite signs and symptoms in earlier stages of macular degeneration other than gradual or sudden change in the quality of your vision followed by appearance of straight lines as distorted. There are some prescription medications helpful with macular degeneration in preventing the growth of abnormal blood vessels within the eye. Cataracts are another common eye problem. Symptoms can include blurred, clouded or dim vision; problem seeing at night; and problem seeing through light and glare. Surgery is the only effective treatment, which involves removal and replacement of cloudy lens with an artificial one. Glaucoma is an eye condition where the eye's optic nerve is damaged, getting worse over time. It results in pressure buildup within the fluid in your eye, which can potentially damage the optic nerve responsible for transmitting images to your brain. From eye drops to pills, traditional surgery and laser surgery, or even a combination of these methods, an experienced eye doctor would recommend any treatment if it is focused on preventing vision loss. (Source: https://irisvision.com/most-common-eye-problems-signs-symptoms-and-treatment/)
GENE THERAPY FOR EYES: Scientists researching a form of inherited blindness in children called Leber's congenital amaurosis recently had success in a clinical trial that improved the vision of children. The trial was preceded by 30 years of research by Jean Bennett and her husband, Al Maguire, at the Scheie Eye Institute of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as other scientists at Penn and around the world. The gene, which is called RPE65, is injected into the eye, under the retina, in an operating room procedure. It enters retinal cells because it is packaged into a safe virus called adeno-associated virus (AAV). Neither the naturally occurring AAV nor the genetically modified version designed to carry the RPE65 gene into people causes disease. The genetically modified AAV was able to significantly restore vision in blind children, enabling them to complete tasks such as walking through a maze without bumping into soft objects, or catching a ball. The retinal RPE65 gene therapy is a breakthrough that will pave the way for gene therapies treating several other retinal diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa, and choroideremia.