In November’s first Wilkinson blog we helped parents stop worrying about vision changes in their children’s eyes when they’re young. Their eyes are growing and changing just like their bodies are.
In this second blog while we’re still full from Thanksgiving dinner, let’s get into vision changes that merit attention.
Two conditions that impact vision
Beyond nearsightedness and farsightedness, there are a few other conditions that impact vision. Astigmatism is when the cornea is more oblong than round, and this causes some blurry vision in different areas of focus. This is easily corrected with the person’s prescription.
Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye, involves malfunctioning nerve pathways between the brain and one of the eyes. Strabismus is when the eyes are misaligned. In both cases, we can put your child in an eye patch to make the eye that is being ignored or is misaligned to work to correct the condition. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.
Sudden changes in vision
If an adult’s vision suddenly worsens, this can be a sign of a serious eye disease.
One of these is glaucoma, where fluid builds up in the eye, increasing pressure inside the eye and eventually damaging the optic nerve. If you experience sudden sight loss or blurry vision, perhaps accompanied by nausea and headaches, call us right away because your vision can become permanently damaged.
Sudden changes in vision can also be caused by a detached retina. While this may not affect the focusing ability, a detached retina will typically show itself with sudden flashes in your vision. You will also see a marked increase in the number of floaters you see drifting across your field of vision when looking at a plain background such as the blue sky. A detached retina also needs immediate attention to prevent vision loss.
Another change in vision doesn’t happen quickly. In fact, these changes can happen so gradually the person doesn’t notice them until they get quite bad. This is the development of cataracts. This is a buildup of proteins in the lenses of our eyes. It is common with aging eyes, as most people over the age of 60 have signs of developing cataracts.
A cataract clouds the lens of the eye. Over time, as the proteins build, the person’s vision becomes cloudier until it eventually seems as if they are looking through a dirty windowpane. Cataracts are not an emergency, and there is no cure. The condition is treated with a 10-minute surgery to replace the cataract-clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens. These are incredibly successful surgeries.
Is it time for your eye exam? Adults should have yearly eye exams after they turn 50, and kids should have yearly eye exams until they exit their teenage years. Call us at Wilkinson Eye Center, (248) 334-4931, to make an appointment.
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