You may be inclined to ignore blurry vision or spots, but don’t. Such problems can lead to blindness.
If your vision deteriorates too much, you won’t be able to earn a living. So when you notice symptoms, don’t just tough it out because it’s inconvenient to see an optometrist or a general practitioner. Most eye conditions are treatable if detected early; treatments can range from eye drops to glasses to laser surgery. Here are the more common vision problems:
NEARSIGHTEDNESS. Keeps you from clearly seeing objects that are far away. The condition is often inherited.
FARSIGHTEDNESS. Impairs the ability to see objects that are near. The condition usually worsens with age.
CATARACTS. Are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye that cause blurred vision, glare, increased sensitivity to light, rainbows and a halo effect around lights. Most cataracts develop during your 40s or 50s, but they don’t impair vision until after 60. Cataracts are treatable with surgery; if left untreated, they can cause blindness.
GLAUCOMA. Can be controlled if treated. Usually, prescription eye drops, oral medication or laser surgery can halt glaucoma. Its onset is gradual. Black people older than 40, anyone with a family history of glaucoma and anyone older than 60 are high-risk candidates.
MACULAR DEGENERATION. Causes a loss of the vision and commonly affects people older than 60. Symptoms include blurred or distorted vision.
ASTIGMATISM. Includes symptoms of headache, fatigue, blurred images, irritation and squinting. If mild, it may not be necessary to use corrective lenses.
DIABETIC RETINOPATHY. Can lead to blindness. Maintaining a normal blood glucose level can prevent or delay onset. Keeping blood pressure under control is also important. Symptoms can include blurring, rings around lights or dark spots.
Other common problems include microbial infections, which occur when something pierces the corneal tissue, and pink eye, which is contagious. It can cause blindness if left untreated.
For information about a commercial driver’s license vision waiver, go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov or call the physical qualifications division of FMCSA at (202) 366-4001.
When something gets in your eye, don’t rub it or try to remove it yourself – the tiniest particle can cause serious damage. If chemicals are splashed in your eyes, flush with cool water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention. Get help at a walk-in clinic or, for more serious problems, an emergency room.
EAT FOR THE EYES
It’s true: Carrots really are good for your eyes. But spinach might be better because it contains lutein and beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, considered to be the vision vitamin. In general, vegetables that are dark yellow or orange, such as yams and winter squash, and dark leafy greens are good vision veggies.