Eye Diseases That Commonly Cause Vision Loss or Blurred Vision
Sudden Vision Loss or Blurred Vision
Anyone who notices a sudden loss or blurring of their vision should see their eye doctor immediately. There are many eye diseases that could cause permanent loss of vision especially if not diagnosed and treated early.
In children, you need to be aware of lazy eye or amblyopia. If caught before age 6, it can be treated with good results. Amblyopia can be caused by crossed or if there is a significant difference in the amount of refractive error between the two eyes.
Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States in people under age 55. Diabetes causes damage to the retina by affecting the integrity of the blood vessels. Diabetes causes loss of capillaries and leaking from blood vessels. Diabetes leads to bleeding into the retina and the fluid or serum leaks into the retina causing swelling or edema. If this occurs in the macula area of the retina it results in blurred or loss of vision. If this is diagnosed early, it can be treated which can prevent further loss of vision or improved vision. Diabetes can eventually lead to significant ischemia (loss of blood supply) to the retina which causes the more severe form of proliferative diabetic retinopathy resulting in blindness.
Optic Nerve Disease
Optic neuritis can occur in this age group under age 55. The most common cause is multiple sclerosis. It has a fairly sudden onset usually in one eye.
Glaucoma is not common in people under age 55. If you have a family history of glaucoma, you should start seeing your eye doctor yearly around age forty to check your eye pressure.
This typically does not occur in people under age 55.
Central Serous Retinopathy of the Macula
There is a leakage of fluid into the macula that usually occurs in the forties. This causes blurred or loss of vision centrally. It is more common in men. It is usually self limited and does not cause major permanent loss of vision.
A retinal detachment occurs when a tear in the retina develops. Fluid then infiltrates through the tear in the retina to accumulate under the retina resulting in the retina detaching. Many times people will notice flashing lights and floaters in their vision when the tear develops. Anyone with the onset of flashes and floaters should see their eye doctor immediately.
Cataracts do not typically occur in people under age 55 but it can happen. The common symptoms are gradual blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night with glare and/or halos around lights, sensitivity to light, and needing more light to read.
There are a variety of corneal diseases such as Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy that can cause blurred vision but fortunately are not common. A person who wears contact lenses and develops blurred vision with a red inflamed eye should see their eye doctor immediately. This could be an indication of a corneal ulcer which could cause significant permanent vision loss if not treated quickly.
People with dry eyes especially severe dry eyes may suffer from blurred vision. You need to have a nice smooth tear film covering over the surface of the cornea in order for the cornea to help focus light clearly on the retina.
Anyone with a sudden loss of vision should see their eye doctor immediately. A person with a gradual loss of vision still needs to see their eye doctor though not as an emergency as early treatment can mean a better outcome.