What causes blindness is an important topic to discuss as far as Australians are concerned. Many people in Australia tend to ignore various factors that may lead to complete loss of vision. Some of the leading causes of blindness include: diabetes, traumatic injuries, herpes simplex virus, and eye diseases such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts and macular degeneration. Blindness may affect one eye or both eyes and may not cause total darkness since some people who are blind can see shadows and some beams of light.

What causes blindness in most people begins with an eye disease that advances into complete vision loss. Cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that makes an individual’s vision to be blurred and it develops a problem of seeing through glare. It is known to be the leading cause of blindness all over the world if left untreated. Individuals who have the following symptoms (bury vision, glare, and double vision) are unable to see well at night as well as perceive faded colours; ideally, such people are advised to seek treatment. Glaucoma is an eye problem that deteriorates the optic nerve, this causes fluid build up and increased eye pressure. It leads to gradual loss of the peripheral vision. It is also a leading cause of blindness and immediate treatment after diagnoses is important.

What causes blindness in many adults is an eye condition known as macula degeneration. This eye disorder is mainly associated with aging and it damages the macula. Macula deterioration leads to loss of the central vision system and blurred vision arises. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that is caused by diabetes. It mainly affects blood vessels that nourish the retina and it causes leaking hence vision loss. Retinitis pigmentosa is an eye problem that begins during childhood and the infected person becomes blind at adulthood. Individuals with this eye disease have a problem of perceiving objects at night.

Glaucoma is a category of eye disorders that are associated with a dangerous build up of internal eye pressure that can severely damage the optic nerve. They eye’s optic never is what transmits information to the brain and it’s essential to our eyesight. If it is undiagnosed or left untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma begins by first attacking the peripheral vision causing seeing loss that can eventually lead to blindness. Glaucoma symptoms are rarely visible and can go unnoticed for a long time until vision loss occurs.

It is this invisibility that causes glaucoma to progress undetected until the optic nerve has been damaged, causing varying degrees of permanent vision loss from very slight to very extreme. The symptoms for acute angle-closure glaucoma can occur quite suddenly and show up in the form of blurry vision, halos around lights, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting. If you or anyone you know is experiencing these types of glaucoma symptoms then make sure you see an eye doctor immediately or visit the emergency room. This will ensure that the proper steps are taken to prevent permanent blindness.

It is also this invisibility that makes it imperative for people to have their eyes examined regularly for glaucoma or other diseases that have serious complications or cause damage. During a routine eye exam, a machine called a tonometer is used to measure they eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP). An abnormally high IOP reading will mean that the eye is producing too much fluid, or it’s not draining properly. Other methods of monitoring glaucoma involve the use of sophisticated imaging technology like lasers, optical coherence and confocal scanning. All of these help to create baseline images and measurements of the eye’s optic nerve and internal structures including the fluid levels.

If you discover that you have glaucoma symptoms your doctor determine what stage you are at prescribe treatment. Treatment can be glaucoma surgery, lasers, medication or eye drops aimed at lowering the IOP. Because glaucoma is often painless and invisible, people may become careless about adhering to their use of eye drops or other treatments. It is important to stick to your treatment plan to control eye pressure and prevent permanent vision loss or blindness.

Creative Commons License photo credit: fran caThe human eye is a complex organ consisting of three layers of tissue that creates a complex process whereby all of us are able to see. When any of these layers are damaged, either through illness or injury, blindness can occur. Many an eye disease or disorder that can affect parts of the eye and cause blindness. There are treatments available for each of the and some more treatable than others.

Cone-rod dystrophy is a progressive disease whereby the rods and cones in your eyes deteriorate over time. This is an inherited eye disease that decreases visual acuity, affects peripheral vision and eventually leads to blindness. Although there is no cure this disease, protecting the retinas from bright light may help to slow down its progression.

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that occurs when the systemic damage caused by diabetes begins to affect the retina. Specifically, the excessive sugar in the blood causes damage to the blood vessels that nourish the retina, which leads to vision loss. The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is close control of diabetes. If the disease becomes more advanced, patients can undergo eye surgery to protect their sight.

Glaucoma usually occurs when the fluid pressure inside one or both eyes slowly begins to increase. This increase in pressure damages the optic nerve which leads to blindness. Those who are in the early stages of glaucoma often do not have any symptoms. Nearly half of those who are affected by glaucoma do not know they have the disease, which makes it dangerous because the loss of vision can occur without warning. Glaucoma is one of the primary reasons you should have your eyes checked annually.

Cataracts occur when the normally crystal clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy and causes blurry vision, faded colours and difficulties seeing through glare. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness and the risk of developing cataracts increases as we grow older. People with this eye disease can usually cope with it at first using special glasses, magnifying lenses and brighter light, but it should be left untreated. Advanced cataracts can undergo surgery to replace the clouded natural lens with an artificial one.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Abhishek JacobAcross the globe, there are thousands of charities and eye foundations dedicated to helping people with sight-loss and eye health problems. If you know somebody with an eye disease or serious eye condition, you will appreciate the importance of these organisations and charities, which help raise awareness and work toward raising funds for research and developments in treatment, as well as provide individuals with much needed support.

One of these foundations is the Sydney Eye Foundation, which was formed in 1981, and is still dedicated to raising funds for updating sophisticated equipment for the hospital’s operations, expanding on their facilities, expanding the rehabilitation services for patients with low vision, increase their offerings of post-graduate training and in providing funding for critical research into the prevention of blindness.

Blindness and vision impairment is a major global public health problem. There is an estimated 285 million people world-wide who are blind or experience vision impairment. What is most disturbing about these numbers is that approximately 80 percent of all vision loss is treatable and preventable.

Essentially, blindness includes the complete or partial vision loss that can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Many health conditions can lead to blindness, but fortunately, there are ways that you can minimise the risk of developing eye problems and help to prevent blindness. Some of these areas included keeping health blood sugar levels to avoid damaging the retina. The high the sugar levels the higher the risk of developing blindness. Other preventative methods include getting your eyes checked regularly and

Getting your blood pressure checked regularly is also key as high blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the eye to burst and lead to vision impairment. Adopting a healthy lifestyle in both of these areas of prevention is key, which includes consuming a diet rich in nutrients including antioxidants. Foods like broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers and carrots are good for the eyes.

Australia has a long history of being a pioneer and in advancing the field of eye health and preventative diseases. The Sydney Eye Foundation continues to contribute the challenge of preventing blindness through its important work in research and advanced technology and techniques to diagnosis and treatment.