Rare eye diseases, common and symptoms. High blood sugar, various thyroid diseases and other hormone imbalances greatly affect the general state of vision. By treating these diseases and disorders, as well as by applying drugs locally (in the eye), the harmful effects of these diseases on vision can be remedied.
The eye is a very specific and partly unique organ according to its composition (it contains some parts that no other organ on the body contains, for example the cornea), while on the other hand it also contains typical organ components (connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves). Due to these similarities, the disease that affects certain organs can also affect the eyes with its symptoms.
Thyroid diseases and diabetes cause eye diseases
Both thyroid diseases and diabetes, each specific in its symptoms, cause diseases and disorders in the eyes. Thus, thyroid diseases, such as hypothyroidism (lack of hormone secretion) and hyperthyroidism (increased hormone secretion) adversely affect eye health.
Hyperthyroidism causes one of the eye diseases, dysthyroid orbitopathy – a change in the tissue of the orbit due to an excessive amount of hormones in the body, and it is related to the entire immune system.
Another eye disease associated with this thyroid disease is an eyeball protrusion or a protruding eyeball . Since water accumulates in the body due to hyperthyroidism, the accumulation of water and fat that increases the tissue around the orbit, and retraction (pulling of the upper eyelids upwards) occurs, causing the eye to appear “bulging”. In extreme cases, which are very rare, the patient cannot even close such an eye, and is unable to close it even when going to sleep. Symptoms are often blurred vision, increased eye pressure and diplopia.
In diabetes, there is a frequent appearance of barley, conjunctivitis, or various inflammatory processes of the surface of the eye (for example, inflammation of the eyelids). The increased concentration of sugar in the tears causes burning or an unpleasant burning sensation. Diabetes, as a systemic disease, damages the lens of the eye and the cornea the most. These eye diseases are treated in such a way that the primary diseases are treated first, and only then the eye diseases (globally and locally).
In order to detect eye diseases in time and to prevent vision loss, an eye examination is required at the age of 40. If you are at risk of suffering from eye diseases, annual examinations are recommended. If you do not have any problems, you should see a doctor every 2 to 4 years until the age of 54 . After that, examinations should be more frequent – every 1 to 3 years. When you reach the age of 65, examinations are recommended every 1-2 years.
As the population increases, so does the number of people suffering from eye diseases. The most common eye diseases of people over the age of 40 are:
Age-related macular degeneration – Rare Eye diseases
Age- related macular degeneration (macular degeneration) damages and then destroys central vision. This disease comes in two forms – dry and wet. 90% of cases are the dry form of macular degeneration. The other 10% is the wet form, which is much more harmful and causes 90% of vision loss cases.
Who is at greatest risk for macular degeneration?
Starting with the highest risk, there are people who:
- Older than 60 years
- They smoke
- They have a family history of this disease
- White men and women
- They have high blood pressure
- They threatened
Macular degeneration is not painful. It can get worse more slowly or faster. The dry form can affect central vision within a few years. The wet
form causes sudden and serious changes in vision. In either case, early detection and treatment are key to slowing vision loss. See your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Straight lines become wavy – a symptom of wet shape
- Blurred central vision – the most common sign of dry form
- Difficulty with distance vision
- Difficulty seeing details , such as faces or words on a page
- Dark or blank spots in central vision
Treatment of age-related macular degeneration – Rare Eye diseases
Treatment of the wet form may include:
- Drug injections (so far the most common treatment)
- Laser surgery
- Photodynamic therapy
Treatment of dry form:
The goal is to monitor or slow down the progression of the disease. Vision loss in advanced dry form of macular degeneration can
not be prevented. The use of certain nutritional supplements can stabilize the disease in some patients. One of the larger studies showed that the use of large doses of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, in combination with zinc, can help slow the progression
of the disease in cases of:
- Diseases of medium severity
- At a high risk of progression to an advanced stage
- At an advanced stage in only one eye
The study also showed that these supplements do not help prevent or slow the disease in its early stages. Steps to prevent age-related macular degeneration:
- Eat more leafy green vegetables and fish
- Maintain a normal body weight and exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Check your blood pressure regularly
- Treat high blood pressure
Cataract or cataract
Another eye disease caused by the aging of the lens is cataracts – a condition in which the normally clear lens becomes cloudy. It can appear in both eyes, but at first it is more often noticed in only one eye. As less light passes through the clouded lens, vision becomes blurry. Cataracts are small at first and may not affect your vision, but the more they grow, the more they affect your vision.
Most are caused by aging. Other risk factors include:
- Diseases (diabetes)
- Eye injury
- Eye surgery
- Heredity or problems related to birth (children can be born with cataracts or develop them in childhood)
- Excessive exposure to UV rays
- Certain medications
Who is at the highest risk for cataracts?
The risk of cataracts increases with age. Other risk factors can be:
- Environmental conditions such as excessive sun exposure.
- Lifestyle, including smoking and alcohol consumption.
- The presence of certain diseases such as diabetes.
- Blurred and blurred vision
- Color fading
- Increased glare from lights, lamps or sunlight
- Weakened night vision
- Multiple objects in one eye or double blurred vision in an eye with a cataract
- Too frequent diopter change
In the early stages of this eye disease, the following can be helpful:
- Purchase of new glasses or contact lenses
- Using stronger lighting
- Using a magnifying lens
- Wearing sunglasses
If the cataract affects daily activities, the doctor will most likely recommend surgery. Cataract or cataract surgery is one of the most common, safest and most effective surgeries. Delaying surgery until it does not affect your daily life is acceptable and will not damage your eyes.
” A guide to cataract surgery – how to recognize and treat it “
If you decide to have surgery, you will be referred to an ophthalmologist who will remove the clouded lens and replace it with an artificial, correct lens. In the event that surgery is required on both eyes, the surgeries will be performed individually on each eye at an interval determined by your doctor.
Ways to prevent cataracts
Avoid excessive exposure to the sun’s rays – wear sunglasses with UV protection and a cap or hat with a wide brim. Don’t smoke.
Eye diseases related to diabetes
People with diabetes are at risk of developing several eye diseases such as:
- Diabetes-related retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease in people with diabetes. Both eyes are usually affected. This disease develops through four stages. The most serious is proliferative diabetic retinopathy.
Damage to blood vessels can lead to vision loss and blindness in two ways:
1. The liquid spills into the center of the retina – the macula. This area is responsible for central vision. The liquid causes swelling of the macula and thus blurs vision .
2 . In proliferative retinopathy, new, abnormal blood vessels grow. These vessels blur vision in such a way that they begin to bleed into the center of the eye , causing the formation of scar tissue. Such a condition can lead to detachment of the retina from the rest of the eye.
Who is at greatest risk of diabetes-related eye disease?
Anyone with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is at risk of eye disease. The longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk of eye disease. The problem with identifying the disease is that proliferative retinopathy and macular swelling can occur without any symptoms. Sometimes vision remains preserved, without any symptoms, as the disease progresses. In any case, the risk of potential vision loss is high and is the reason for routine eye examinations.
Symptoms of eye diseases related to diabetes
As with diabetes, early signs of diabetic retinopathy are not noticeable at first. Do not wait for symptoms to appear to take the necessary measures. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes , make an appointment for a detailed eye examination once a year or more often. The longer you delay, the less successful the treatment will be.
See a doctor immediately if you notice the following symptoms:
Blurred vision . This is a very common symptom in people with diabetes who have unstable blood sugar levels, even in the absence of retinopathy. The appearance of objects that seem to “float” in your field of vision in one eye for more than a few days. This phenomenon can be harmless, but if you have diabetes, this phenomenon can also be a sign of bleeding in the eye.
Treatment of diabetes-related eye diseases
“Scatter” laser treatment (panretinal photocoagulation) is an effective treatment for treating new blood vessels before or after they begin to bleed. Severe bleeding can be treated with a vitrectomy, removing the blood from the center of the eye. “Focal” laser treatment serves to stabilize vision. This treatment can reduce vision loss by 50%.
These laser treatments can reduce the risk of severe vision loss and blindness, but they cannot cure diabetic retinopathy. They also cannot restore lost vision or prevent future vision loss. New drugs can be administered by injection into the eyes to treat diabetes-related complications.
Steps to prevent diabetes-related eye disease
More than a third of people with diabetes do not receive adequate treatment, increasing the risk of blindness. If you have diabetes, be careful about the health of your eyes. People with diabetes should see an eye doctor at least once a year, even if they don’t have any eye diseases. Those who have it should visit the doctor more often than that. Keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medication, diet and exercise.
There are eye diseases that can cause blindness – glaucoma is one of them. Many people do not even know they have glaucoma because symptoms do not appear until glaucoma has already damaged the optic nerve. The optic nerve sends images from the eye to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve caused by glaucoma is usually associated with increased pressure inside the eye.
The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma. Its causes are not yet completely clear. Glaucoma can also develop without increased pressure in the eye.
Who is at increased risk of glaucoma?
Glaucoma can develop in anyone. However, some people are at higher risk:
- People over 60 years of age
- People with high eye pressure, thin corneas or optic nerve problems
- Anyone who has experienced a serious eye injury
- People with certain diseases, such as diabetes
- People with a family history of glaucoma
- People who have high eye pressure
Symptoms of glaucoma
Glaucoma has no symptoms until the last, advanced stage, where vision is already impaired. Some people therefore call it the “silent killer” of vision. As the disease progresses, a person with glaucoma experiences accelerated vision loss, including:
- Blurred vision
- Weakening of peripheral vision
- Problems with focus
- “Stardust” effect near light (this is atypical and occurs with extremely high eye pressure and acute attacks of glaucoma)
Treatment of glaucoma
For some eye diseases, there is no cure. Glaucoma is one of them. Once sight is lost, it cannot be regained . However, early detection and treatment of this disease can protect you from serious vision loss.
Treatment may include:
- Eye drops or medications that reduce eye pressure
- Some types of laser treatments that reduce eye pressure
- Surgery to create a new opening for fluid to drain from the eye
If you use glaucoma medications , take them every day as prescribed. When you are not taking medication, your eye pressure increases and this can cause a slow loss of vision.
Steps to prevent glaucoma:
The key to preventing glaucoma is maintaining a normal level of eye pressure , which your doctor can help you with. Have regular eye exams every 2-4 years until age 54, and every 1-3 years thereafter until age 65. After that, you should see a doctor every 1-2 years.
Your doctor may notice high eye pressure or see a high risk of developing glaucoma. In this case, you could start using eye drops and visit the doctor more often. In some people, treatment with eye drops can reduce the risk by 50% . Lowering eye pressure is the only way to stop or slow down vision loss in glaucoma patients. Eye diseases should always be taken seriously, visit your ophthalmologist regularly.
Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is a common eye condition where the eye is able to see nearby objects clearly, but distant objects appear blurry. This is caused by the shape of the eye being too long, or the cornea being too curved, which causes light to focus incorrectly on the retina.
Symptoms of myopia can include difficulty seeing distant objects such as road signs or the blackboard at school or work, squinting or headaches when trying to see distant objects, and the need to hold reading materials closer to the face.
Myopia can be diagnosed by an eye doctor through a comprehensive eye exam, which may include a visual acuity test, refraction test and retinal examination. Myopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, which have a concave lens that compensates for the eye’s shape and focuses the light correctly on the retina. In some cases, refractive surgery such as LASIK can be used to permanently correct myopia.
Myopia can be inherited and it may progress during childhood and adolescence, so regular eye exams are important for those who are myopic or have a family history of myopia.
Astigmatism is a common eye condition in which the eye is not able to focus light evenly on the retina, resulting in distorted vision. This is caused by an irregular shape of the cornea or lens of the eye, which causes light to be refracted (bent) at different angles. This can cause objects to appear blurry or distorted at any distance.
Symptoms of astigmatism include blurred or distorted vision, eye strain or fatigue, headaches, and squinting. Astigmatism can occur alone or in combination with other refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).
Astigmatism can be diagnosed by an eye doctor through a comprehensive eye exam, which may include a visual acuity test, refraction test and retinal examination. Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, which have a toric lens that compensates for the irregular shape of the eye and focuses light correctly on the retina. In some cases, refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK can be used to permanently correct astigmatism.
It’s important for people to have regular eye exams to check for astigmatism and other vision issues, even if they don’t have any symptoms. Early detection and treatment can help prevent vision problems and maintain good vision.
In conclusion, eye diseases can range from common conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to more rare diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s congenital amaurosis. These eye disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms, from blurred vision to complete blindness. Early detection and treatment is important in order to maintain good vision and prevent further vision loss. Regular eye exams, including visual acuity tests and retinal examinations, are crucial in identifying and managing eye diseases. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of these eye disorders and to seek professional help if they occur. With the right diagnosis and treatment, many eye diseases can be effectively managed, and in some cases, even reversed.
You might be interested in…