The most common eye complaints in North America

Safeguarding the health of your eyes goes beyond having a pair of glasses that fit well. If you want to ensure your eyes are healthy, you need to have regular comprehensive eye exams that check for some of the common eye ailments. It is also important to be aware of changes in your eyes, and what they can mean. To help you keep on top of your eye health, here is a list of the most common eye complaints in North America.

Most people will experience vision problems in their lifetime. The most common vision change is due to refractive error conditions, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. After age 40, presbyopia (hardening of the lens) may occur. Your lifestyle choices can affect these conditions, so if you don’t smoke, avoid exposing your eyes to bright sun and eat a healthy diet, you can help sustain your eye health. You can easily address refractive errors with eyeglasses or contact lenses, but you need to keep your prescriptions current to avoid eye strain. Corrective sight surgery is also possible.

As you age, you become vulnerable to several eye problems, and one in seven Canadians is at risk of these diseases. The most common is age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. When the macula is impaired, you may have blurry vision and distortion. While aging is the main culprit eye health problems can be averted to some extent by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Cataracts is another common eye condition you may face as you age. A cataract is a thickening of tissue that creates a cloudy area on the lens that can cause blurred vision, light sensitivity, night vision difficulty and more. Like AMD, smoking, sun exposure, and poor nutrition can contribute to cataract development, so avoiding these things can help. If cataracts significantly impact your vision, surgery is the only solution. These days the operation is very straightforward and recovery is normally fast. One US study showed the incidence of surgery for cataracts is rising, which means there are many excellent providers available in Canada and the US, such as cataract surgery Blaine, Minnesota.

The second leading cause of blindness is glaucoma, which is caused by an increase in intraocular pressure. It causes vision loss and eventually blindness. Some types of glaucoma have no visible symptoms, while others may cause blurred vision, eye or head pain, and rainbow halos. Risk factors for glaucoma include certain medical and eye conditions, family history and eye injuries. It can be treated with surgery, prescription drugs or eye drops.

If you suffer from diabetes, you are at risk of diabetic retinopathy. It is caused by damage to the retinal blood vessels, and some of the symptoms include floaters (black spots in the vision), blurred vision, and night vision difficulty. Keeping control of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and not smoking can decrease the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Surgery is the primary treatment, but is not a cure. Diabetes may also lead to retinal detachment, although this condition has other causes such as trauma and heredity factors. Retinal detachment may cause flashing lights or blurred vision, and its only treatment is surgery.

Your eyesight should never be taken for granted. You can protect your eyes from future damage with smart lifestyle choices and regular eye exams. You will be glad you did!