What Causes Blindness?

According to the World Health Organization, the Southeast Asian region accounts for 28% of cases of blindness in the world. In Singapore, vision disorders are the fourth leading cause of disability and burden during a study in 2010.

Possible Causes
Blindness can result from injury or trauma to the eyes, but most cases are the result of eye diseases such as those listed below.

This condition doesn’t just occur among the elderly, but can also affect even children, and is also the leading cause of impairment among all ages in the world. Cataracts form in the eye lens located behind the pupil and create the feeling that the person is looking at objects through a fog. Cataracts can be treated with surgery to remove the lens so that it can be replaced with a clear but artificial lens.

Most cases of glaucoma occur among the elderly and is caused by the buildup of fluid in the eye or the degeneration of the retinal ganglion cells. The intraocular pressure resulting from the fluids might damage the nerves and other parts of the eye. Some doctors, however, cannot point the cause of the condition. Glaucoma can be treated if diagnosed early with medications and surgery to ease the pressure in the eye.

Diabetic Retinopathy
As the name implies, this eye condition is triggered by a person’s high blood sugar levels which affect the retinal vessels located in the back of the eye. When these vessels break, more blood flow or leak into the affected area. This condition is usually treated with the use of photocoagulation to destroy the damaged blood vessels and prevent angiogenesis. Photocoagulation is usually done with the use of a laser.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration
This is the leading cause of blindness in the world and among the elderly. The macula is responsible for the central vision and fine details in the objects we see. People with this condition can see only with a limited field of vision and will lose their central vision, although most of the afflicted can still perform daily routine with minimal assistance. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition which can take either one of the two forms: exudative and non-exudative form.

Retinitis Pigmentosa
Most cases of retinitis pigmentosa begin at a young age and will progress as the person gets older. This condition is also the most common cause of inherited blindness in the world. The first sign is usually the difficulty of seeing objects at night and the field of vision will get smaller through the years as if you’re looking through a narrow tube. Retinitis pigmentosa causes photoreceptor loss and affects the middle portion of the retina. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition

Sudden Blindness
Sudden blindness can affect one or both eyes, but it is not a condition that will lead to total blindness. It could be a symptom of another medical condition that needs immediate attention.

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