Skip to content

Eye Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Detecting Eye Diseases and Conditions

As our population ages, vision loss from eye diseases is increasing.

According to the National Eye Institute (NEI):

Recommended Related to Eye Health

Eye Twitching

Eye twitching is a repetitive, uncontrollable blinking or spasm of the eyelid, usually the upper lid. Eye twitching (blepharospasm) usually affects the eye muscles of both eyes. If you have eye twitching, you may have an involuntary movement that recurs every several seconds for a minute or two. Most people develop a minor eyelid twitch at some point in their lives. Although the cause is generally unknown, it may be associated with: Fatigue Stress Caffeine ...

Read the Eye Twitching article > >

  • About 3.3 million Americans aged 40 or older are blind or have low vision. This is about 1 in every 28 people.
  • By 2020, that number could be 5.5 million -- a 60% increase.

NEI has identified the most common eye diseases in people over age 40 as:

To catch eye conditions early and help prevent vision loss, your doctor may recommend an eye exam every two years or more often after age 60, or if you are at high risk for an eye problem.

Here's what you should know about these threats to your eyesight.

Your Eyes and Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) damages, then destroys, central vision, your "straight-ahead," finely detailed vision. This eye disease takes two forms, dry and wet. About 90% of AMD cases are dry. The remaining 10% are wet, a more advanced form. Wet AMD is more damaging, causing about 90% of serious vision loss.

Who's at Risk for AMD?

Starting with the highest risk, people who:

Symptoms of AMD

AMD is painless. It may worsen slowly or rapidly. Dry AMD may affect central vision within a few years. Wet AMD can cause sudden and dramatic changes in vision. In either case, early detection and treatment are key to slowing vision loss. See your eye doctor right away if you notice:

  • Straight lines appearing wavy, a symptom of wet AMD
  • Blurred central vision, the most common dry AMD symptom
  • Trouble seeing things in the distance
  • Problems seeing colors correctly
  • Difficulty seeing details, like faces or words on a page
  • Dark or "blank" spots blocking your central vision

Treatment of AMD

Wet AMD treatment may include:

  • Special drug injections (by far the most common treatment)
  • Laser surgery
  • Photodynamic therapy

Dry AMD treatment is aimed at monitoring or slowing the progression of the disease. Vision loss from advanced dry AMD cannot be prevented. But taking certain dietary supplements may help stabilize the disease in some patients. One large study has shown that taking high doses of the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin, along with zinc may help slow AMD progression in cases of:

  • Intermediate AMD
  • High risk of progressing to advanced AMD
  • Advanced AMD in just one eye

However, this regimen did not prevent AMD onset or slow its progression in early-stage disease.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
eye
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
 
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
 
Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 
vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article