In the United States, more than 4.2 million people aged 40 years or older are legally blind or have low vision. Most people assume blindness means the inability to see at all, but the definition of legal blindness is having 20/200 vision or worse. In comparison, low vision means a significant vision loss that impairs daily function.
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Sight is one of the most highly regarded and valued senses, which is why it’s critical to take care of your eye health. Learning about things that can cause vision loss will help you seek early intervention, diagnosis and, if possible, rehabilitation.
Keep reading to learn about eight diseases that can cause blindness.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the leading cause of adult blindness in the developed world. It is a progressive disease that persistently affects your eye’s retina. The retina is responsible for sensing light and sending signals to the brain. When someone has AMD, fatty deposits build up, which blocks the retina’s ability to absorb essential nutrients needed to function.
In the early stages, symptoms may be subtle, such as problems seeing at night. Therefore, it’s critical to talk to your doctor if you notice signs of impaired vision when in dark or dimly lit areas. As the disease advances and a part of the retina called the macula deteriorates, it will gradually become difficult to read, recognize faces and drive.