In young people, the major cause of vision loss due to retinal disease is diabetic retinopathy.
Symptoms of Retinal Disease
In young people, the major cause of vision loss due to retinal disease is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can cause progressive damage to the eyeâ€™s retina, and in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no symptoms. The good news is that 90 percent of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy is preventable if itâ€™s diagnosed early.
An extensive eye examination should be done as soon as diabetes is diagnosed, and at least every two years after that. If diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, eye examinations may need to be done yearly. Timely, specialised laser treatment of the eye - specifically for diabetic retinopathy - is beneficial for people with this condition.
In older people, the retinal disease that most often causes vision loss is macular degeneration. Macular degeneration affects the central vision used for reading and fine visual tasks. Symptoms include distorted vision, where straight objects appear bent. Other symptoms include blind spots or dark patches in the central vision.
Changes in vision in one eye may go unnoticed if the other eye has good vision, therefore it is important for people with macular degeneration to have their eyes tested separately to detect these changes. There are new, highly effective treatments for neovascular (wet) macular degeneration. Early detection and treatment is essential to prevent permanent damage to vision.
Retinal detachment is an uncommon but significant cause of visual loss. Retinal detachment can often be prevented by treating retinal tears before they lead to detachment.Â Warning symptoms include the sudden onset of spots or lines that appear to â€˜floatâ€™ in the vision and may look like insects. Other symptoms include flashes of light, which can appear as â€˜lightning streaksâ€™ to the side of the vision. If this occurs, seek an eye examination immediately. Laser treatment of retinal tears can often prevent further complications.
Other conditions such as retinal vascular disease may affect the macula and cause loss of vision. A retinal examination by an ophthalmologist can determine the exact nature of the retinal condition.
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