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Dangerous eye diseases without warning signs!!

Dangerous eye diseases without warning signs!!

When it comes to scheduling preventive health appointments, eye exams are often overlooked. There are usually warning signs for physical health problems but none may be observed in our eye health, so how can you be sure that your eyes are healthy? The truth is, some eye diseases do not show any symptoms until they are in a very advanced stage, when it may already be too late for effective treatment. How can this problem be solved? Dr. Patchima Chantaren, TRSC ophthalmologist has eye care tips for you.

How do we know if our eyes are still healthy? The annual eye examination is the best way to ensure that your eyes are healthy and is able to detect any eye diseases earlier for proper treatment and care. The most common eye diseases are as follows:

Vitreous Degeneration

As one ages, vitreous gel will liquefy into water and fine sediments. This condition is commonly known as vitreous floaters. When light passes through, these floaters can be visible, and is seen as small moving dots or wispy gray spots lines. Vitreous floaters are not dangerous without a retinal tear but can certainly be bothersome. A comprehensive eye exam should be performed to see if there is retina hole or tear, which can lead to a retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment is a serious and sight-threatening disease, which occurs when the retina becomes separated from its underlying supportive tissue. The retina cannot function when these layers are detached, and unless it is reattached soon, permanent vision loss may result. The leading symptoms of this disease are seeing flashing lights all of a sudden, and noticing many new floaters at once. These can look like specks, lines or cobwebs in your field of vision, or seeing a gray curtain covering part of your field of vision. If you have any of these symptoms, see a retinal specialist immediately.

Keratoconus is an eye disorder in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change in shape. Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision such as nearsightedness, astigmatism, and decreased visual acuity. It is typically diagnosed in a patient's teenage years and attains its most severe state in the patient’t wenties and thirties. For some, it may advance over several decades, but for most, the progression will reach a certain point and stop. Keratoconus is an absolute contraindication for corneal refractive surgery because it will thin the cornea even more, causing more prominent distortion and visual symptoms.

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. If the pressure inside the eye exceeds the level that the optic nerve can tolerate, the optic nerve becomes damaged, resulting in glaucoma. Glaucoma starts with loss of peripheral vision and gradually moves centrally. In other words, the field of vision gets smaller and smaller, leaving the patient with tunnel vision, and eventually vision can fully disappear, resulting in total blindness. Glaucoma can be generally divided into two types: the symptomatic and the asymptomatic types.

  • The symptomatic type of glaucoma or Primary angle-closure glaucoma is acute in nature. The eye pressure increases rapidly, causing pain, redness, and blurry vision. This prompts the patient to seek urgent medical care.

  • The asymptomatic type of glaucoma or Primary open-angle glaucoma. The patient will most likely not know that something is going on until the disease is at a very advanced stage. This second type of glaucoma usually does not affect the central vision in its early stage, so the patient does not experience or notice any change in vision. Most patients with this asymptomatic type of glaucoma are diagnosed during a routine eye checkup.

A cataract is the clouding of the natural crystalline lens inside the eye as we age. It is a universal condition and everyone gets cataracts when they are old enough, usually in their 60’s and above. Cataracts cause blurry vision with severe glare or halo which cannot be fixed with glasses. These symptoms slowly progress and it can take many years to hinder vision.

Who should have annual eye check-up exams?

  • Those who have refractive errors (regardless of whether they have undergone laser vision correction surgery or not) should have an eye check-up at least once a year.

  • For those under 40 years old, an eye examination is recommended at least once every 2 years.

  • People with normal eyes over the age of 40 years should have an eye check-up at least once a year to check any eye diseases that may occur such as glaucoma, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration.

  • People with a family history of eye diseases.

  • A comprehensive eye examination is recommended for every child before entering school.

  • By far the most important organs of sense are our eyes.

To maintain good vision and healthy eyes, a comprehensive dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective.

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