Table of Contents
- What is Blindness?
- Causes of Blindness
- Risk Factors for Blindness
- Symptoms of Blindness
- Diagnosis of Blindness
- Treatment of Blindness
- Complications of Blindness
- Cataracts. This involves clouding of the eye’s lenses. It affects 22 million people and are the greatest cause of blindness throughout the world, where surgery to correct it is not always available. Cataracts will affect more than half of people over the age of 80. The symptoms of cataracts include faded colors, blurry vision, sun glare, poor night vision, and double vision. People can get better with stronger glasses and anti-glare sun glasses but surgery can cure cataracts. It makes sure that the old lenses is removed and replaced with the artificial lens. Staying out of the sun can prevent or delay cataracts.
- Glaucoma. Glaucoma involves increased pressure in the vitreous humor of the eye so that the optic nerve of the eye is damaged. There are usually no symptoms until the pressure gets really high. It is a problem affecting 2.3 million Americans and another 2 million have no idea they have the disease. It is a common cause of blindness in African Americans and Latinos. African Americans have 4 times the rate of blindness compared to whites. Glaucoma is 15 times more likely to cause serious blindness in blacks between the ages of 45 to 64 when compared to whites. No cure exists for glaucoma. Surgery or the use of eye drops can keep the blindness away.
- Research is working on some of the genetic basis of glaucoma.
- Trauma. Trauma to the eye can come in the form of blunt trauma to the eye or penetrating trauma. Blunt trauma can be from a motor vehicle accident, baseball bat or ball striking the eye, causing disruption of the globe. Fortunately trauma to the eye is usually unilateral. Penetrating trauma can come from a knife wound or something like a fish hook to the eye. These can disrupt the globe and can do damage to the retina or the optic nerve itself. These types of trauma can cut through the lens, distorting vision.
- Macular Degeneration. This is a disease of the eye that affects people who are older. It is one of the major losses of vision in those older than 60. It destroys the macula, which is the portion of the vision that determines the sharpness of vision. Reading is destroyed along with the ability to drive, do tasks, and watch television. It is a painless disease but it is permanent. The changes in vision are gradual. There are two types of macular degeneration, wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration. In wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels begin to grow beneath the macula. In dry macular degeneration, the cells of the macula simply break down so that vision gradually blurs in the middle of the visual field. There is no cure for macular degeneration but laser surgery, certain drugs, and photodynamic therapy can slow the progression of the disease.
- Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetes causes diabetic retinopathy. It affects the seeing part of the eye—the retina. Blood cells of the eye are damaged and new, abnormal blood cells grow and interrupt the vision. They leak fluid into the vitreous humor of the eye and cause scar tissue to build up that separates the retina from the back wall of the eye. Blindness is the end result. It is usually bilateral. Diabetic retinopathy is treated with surgery or laser treatment. If the blood sugar is in good control, treatment can definitely slow the progression of the disease.
- Age. Diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma increase with age.
- Risk behaviors. Those who engage in high risk behaviors run an increased risk for sustaining an injury to the eye—blunt force trauma or penetrating trauma.
- Genetics. For macular degeneration, several genes have been found that are related to getting the disease.
- Smoking. There is a documentable link between macular degeneration and smoking history.
- Alcohol use. There is an increase of 47 percent in getting macular degeneration if you drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day.
- Vitamin A Malabsorption. Diseases like pancreas, liver or bariatric surgery that decrease your ability to absorb vitamin A, leading to night blindness.
If you or a loved one has suffered blindness as a result of someone else's negligence and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney, contact us online or call us at 916.921.6400 to set up a FREE consultation.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. JC