There are many types of eye conditions that have various causes and symptoms. The most common groups of eye conditions are Retinitis Pigmentosa and Macular Degeneration, both of which are hereditary eye conditions that are caused by rods and cones dying off.
Retinitis Pigmentosa, hereditary eye conditions
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a hereditary eye condition. Retinitis Pigmentosa causes the rods in our eyes to die off, which is located in the outer area of the retina and allow us to see in the dark by absorbing as much light as possible. As such, the initial symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa are night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. If you have night blindness, you will struggle to see properly, or at all, in low-light situations. After this stage, the visual field will continue to become smaller, ultimately leading to tunnel vision, or tubular vision.
Tubular vision occurs when peripheral vision continues to deteriorate, limiting the visual field to a tunnel that becomes smaller and smaller. As a result, you will only be able to see part of your surroundings and will have to turn your head and move your eyes to see everything around you. Other symptoms include blurred vision, floaters or seeing a black spot. Retinitis Pigmentosa can cause the visual field to become very small. Most people end up keeping about 5% of their sight, making them legally blind. The speed of this process differs for each patient.
Eye condition: Macular Degeneration
With Macular Degeneration, the cones die off first, which means that you will experience central vision loss. Reduced visual acuity, blurry spots or a black spot in the middle of your visual field are common symptoms of Macular Degeneration. Ultimately, Macular Degeneration will lead to a deterioration of the visual field, but it will only affect your central vision and will not lead to complete blindness. There are two different types of Macular Degeneration: ‘dry MD’ , which is characterised by slow progression of the disease, and ‘wet MD’, which can be a very quick process.
If you suffer from a cloudy eye or blurred vision, this may be a symptom of cataracts. This can occur in one eye, but also in both eyes at the same time. If you have cataracts, the lens in your eye will slowly become cloudy, preventing light from passing through it. Symptoms include blurry vision, cloudy vision, faded colours and reduced visual acuity.
Eye condition: Glaucoma
Glaucoma is another eye condition, which damages the optic nerve that sends images to the brain. This is usually caused by elevated eye pressure. If Glaucoma remains untreated, your visual field can deteriorate, you can start seeing black spots and/or start seeing less sharply.
Preventing eye conditions
Some eye conditions can be treated, whereas others, unfortunately, cannot. There are, however, useful tools that can make living with the condition more tolerable. A healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet are important ways to combat all eye conditions. You can take the first step yourself by getting enough exercise, refraining from smoking and drinking alcohol, and protecting your eyes against bright light. Nowadays, people think about nutrition a lot, and we are learning more and more about the importance of a healthy diet. Making sure that your eye gets all the nutrients it needs is very important. You can get these nutrients from your daily diet or from dietary supplements. Antioxidants, vitamin A, Omega 3 and zinc are some of the nutrients that are important for the eyes. Research has shown that Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also good antioxidants for the eye. Always make sure to consult with your doctor before you start taking supplements with your medication.