Potential Vision Problems, and How to Lower Your Risk

July 31, 2012
Eye Health

Recoginzing your risk factors and simple lifestyle changes can preserve your eye health as you age.

Have you ever wondered about different types of vision problems, and how to lower your risk of developing them?  Here are four fairly common vision problems that anyone can run into, and how to recognize the signs, according to Eye Care Magazine.
Age Related Macular Degeneration describes damage to the macula, which is the center of the retina, which results in poor central vision.  Central vision is what you need to see objects clearly, and perform basic everyday activities such as reading and driving.  Because this has the potential to effect such a large portion of a person’s life, it is important to try and prevent its onset.  Things such as advanced age, smoking, untreated medical conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity), and a family history of AMD are all risk factors.  The best way to lower your risk in this case is to quit smoking, and to see your health care provider every year to assess any health concerns you may have.
Cataracts form when the lens of your eyes becomes cloudy, which then causes blurred vision.  Adults age fifty and above are at risk for cataracts, and also individuals who smoke, have high cholesterol, diabetes, or prior eye traumas are at a greater risk for developing cataracts.  Also, spending too much time in the sun can later cause cataracts to form.  The best way to lower your risk, is to stop smoking if you do smoke, wear sunglasses, and eat an antioxidant rich diet.
Glaucoma is a chronic condition, where a damaged optic nerve results in vision loss.  Adults over age 60, and African Americans over age 40 are at risk for developing Glaucoma.  Also, people with a family history of glaucoma, people who have high blood pressure or blood sugar, or a prior eye injury are at a heightened risk.  The best way to lower your risk of developing glaucoma is to get an annual eye exam, and also to keep both your blood sugar and your blood pressure at healthy levels.
Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when high levels of blood sugar damage blood vessels in the retina, which is the tissue in the back of the eye that sends light signals to the brain.  People with type one and type two diabetes are at risk for developing Diabetic Retinopathy, whether they are diagnosed or undiagnosed.  The best way to lower your risk is to carefully monitor and control your blood sugar levels if you are diabetic.  If you are not diabetic, make sure to talk to your health care provider about testing your blood sugar at your annual checkup.
By following these tips to reduce your risk of developing these vision problems, your eyes will be on their way to great and sustained health for the rest of your life!