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Common Causes of Low Vision

As February was low vision month, it seems like an appropriate time to examine the common causes of serious vision problems, which affect millions of Americans of all age groups. Some of these low vision problems include partial sight, blurred vision, blind spots, night halos, tunnel vision, or partial or complete blindness. In some cases, these issues can be helped with glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery, or even various medications.

Unfortunately, not everyone can be helped through these measures. Those people whose visual impairment cannot be cured by glasses, contacts, surgery or pharmaceuticals are known to have “low vision”, which affects people of all age groups (though it is most common in older people). So, what causes low vision?

1. Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an eye condition that directly targets the retina, or the part of the eye that detects light and helps images become focused and easier to recognize. When the retina begins to deteriorate through macular degeneration, the patient will suffer from blurred vision, making it difficult to read and identify objects. It may also cause a blind spot to develop.

Macular degeneration is often related to age, according to the National Eye Institute, though this isn’t always the case. There are two types of macular degeneration, including the “dry” and “wet” forms. With the dry form, vision loss comes on slower, giving the patient time to work with their doctor to halt its progress. But the wet form is more complicated; caused by the development of abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula, it comes on more rapidly and leads to more serious vision loss. To reduce your chance of developing either type of macular degeneration, avoid smoking and follow a healthy diet.

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