Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eye Conditions: What are the Major Categories? by Kathryn Dawson

Due to difference in age, genetics, living habits or conditions, and diet, we suffer from different health conditions. The same applies to our eyes. Ophthalmic medical conditions or eye conditions can be divided into six major categories, namely cataract, diabetic, cosmetic, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal.

Major Categories of Eye Conditions

Here are the major categories of the various eye conditions:

1. Cataract: In this condition, the lens of the eye gets clouded. It is a very common age-related eye disease and typically occurs among people over 55 years. Younger people suffering from longstanding eye diseases, diabetes or kidney disease may fall prey to cataract. According to a study, 77% of people above 70 years of age are prone to cataract. This causes vision to get blurred and become sensitive to sunlight, car headlamps or other sources of instant bright light. It may also lead to colour blindness to some extent.

2. Diabetic Eye Conditions: Among the various body parts, diabetes can severely impact the eye. It can even lead to the complete loss of sight. Moreover, with one in every twenty five persons in the UK being diabetic, eye disease resulting from this ailment is common. This makes it important for diabetics to go for regular eye examinations for early diagnosis in order to prevent the loss of sight. When diabetes affects the retina, it leads to a serious condition called diabetic retinopathy. There are three stages, depending upon severity, namely background diabetic retinopathy, maculopathy and proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

3. Glaucoma: In the UK, two persons in every hundred above the age of 40 suffer from some form of glaucoma. This is a group of eye conditions caused by increased eye pressure, weakness in the optic nerve or a combination of both. If the pressure becomes too high, it damages the optic nerve immediately. This condition can broadly be divided into two categories.

• Chronic or open angle glaucoma: This condition is quite common and leads to the blocking of drainage channels. The pressure builds gradually. Although there is no pain, vision starts becoming impaired over time.

• Acute or closed angle glaucoma: This is a rare condition and involves the sudden blocking of fluid to the eye. It is very painful and leads to complete and permanent vision impairment. It is best treated through glaucoma surgery.

4. Macular Degeneration: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of blindness and around 500,000 people in the UK are suffering from it. It occurs in people over 50 years of age and deteriorates central vision. It may affect both eyes and can be dry or wet. Around 90% of AMD patients develop dry AMD. In this, the cells in the macula become weak over time and, within ten years, central vision deteriorates in most cases. Cases of wet AMD are rare and involve the growth of blood vessels behind the retina. This can damage the macula through leakage. Symptoms of AMD include distortion or blurriness of the central vision, colour or share impairment and dark patches in the central vision. Factors that typically lead to AMD are age, smoking, a poor diet, high blood pressure, genetic and sunlight.

Other eye conditions include Blepharospasm (contraction of one of the muscles controlling the eyelids), Dry Eye Syndrome (a problem with the lubricating film) and Pterygium (a raised tissue in the cornea). Eye operations and vision correction surgery have become increasingly simple with advancements in medical science.

For treatment from some of the top ophthalmic surgeons in the UK, browse the internet for specialist eye hospitals. Precision, experience (both in the NHS and private sector) and the latest ophthalmic techniques and facilities are among the values you should look for.