New thinking about vision loss

October 2, 2015

Exciting new research proves that catching vision problems early — sometimes before they've done even a tiny bit of damage — and treating them with newer, more-effective drugs and procedures could save the sight of millions of older women and men. Read on for new ways to treat vision problems.

New thinking about vision loss

Get regular eye exams!

Starting in your forties, you should be examined every two to four years until you're 64, then every one or two years after that — and it should be performed by an ophthalmologist or optician.

  • The eye doctor should enlarge (dilate) your pupils by putting drops in your eyes. This is the only way to find some eye diseases that have no early signs or symptoms. The eye doctor should test your eyesight, your glasses, and your eye muscles.
  • And if your doctor does spot a problem, take action — pronto. There's no reversing the two leading causes of blindness in the world's developed countries: glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But the earlier they're caught, the more vision you can save.

How to lower inner-eye pressure

Prescription-only eyedrops can lower inner-eye pressure (doctors call it intraocular pressure) that destroys the optic nerve in glaucoma — in studies, these drops have significantly slowed or even halted the advance of this vision-robbing condition.

Treating advanced AMD

If your doctor says you have the more advanced "wet" form of AMD, a drug containing ranibizumab could give you a 90 percent chance of maintaining your vision.

  • In one study, it significantly improved vision for 40 percent of study participants.
  • In contrast, 60 percent of study volunteers who had a conventional treatment called photodynamic therapy still became blind after just one year.

Get cataract surgery ASAP

Got cataracts? Consider surgery. Replacing the eye's clouded lens with a plastic, acrylic, or silicone version is one of the safest and most effective surgeries you can have. And while doctors once waited until cataracts were advanced, they now suggest having the surgery as soon as you have cataract-related vision problems, such as too much glare from oncoming traffic while driving at night.

  • In fact, driving may be one of the best reasons to go ahead with this procedure. It could save your life or someone else's.
  • In one study of older drivers, those who had cataract surgery were less likely to be involved in automobile crashes than those who didn't have the procedure.

Eye health is extremely important, especially since eye problems become more obvious as you age. Keep this guide in mind and remember that pampering and protecting your eyes with smart eating, exercise, and protective sunglasses can help slash your risk for ever having these conditions in the first place.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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