It’s important to know the signs of degenerative eye disease, including nearsightedness, astigmatism, distorted vision, and sudden changes. Learn more in our latest article.
What Are the Most Common Signs of Degenerative Eye Disease?
While “degenerative eye disease” is an umbrella term for several vision problems, there are two common types: macular degeneration and keratoconus.
The macula is an important piece of the retina that controls detailed vision. When people speak about macular degeneration, they’re referring to the loss of vision as a result of the deterioration of this piece of the eye. While there are two types of this disease, the most common is dry macular degeneration, meaning the tissues around the macula begin to thin.
Another common eye disease, keratoconus, occurs when a person’s cornea bulges into a cone shape. The light passing through this cone shape becomes distorted.
While macular degeneration normally occurs in those 40 or older, keratoconus can begin to develop in teen and early-20s. This is why frequent and regular trips to the optometrist are so important to maintaining healthy vision at all ages.
As these are both progressive eye disease, it’s important to know the signs and begin treatment to slow the progression of the diseases. Depending on the type of degenerative disease, your eye doctor can recommend how to best manage and slow vision loss. Here are a few signs that you may be experiencing a degenerative eye disease and it’s imperative to see an optometrist.
Nearsightedness or Astigmatism
While many people experience vision problems like nearsightedness or astigmatism, it also may be a sign that a more severe condition is developing. This symptom is especially telling of keratoconus development, and why it’s important to have a regularly scheduled vision exam.
When keratoconus is developing, individuals find that their prescription changes rapidly. For those who are already feeling like their prescription isn’t strong enough less than a year from their last exam, call your eye doctor and be sure to get re-examined. It may be crucial to visit an optometrist with advanced technology and expertise specifically for keratoconus detection.
For many with macular degeneration, distorted vision or having dark spots at the center are among the first signs for its development. A healthcare professional will look for these symptoms when diagnosing and may administer what’s called an “Amsler grid” test. If the lines look irregular in the test or a dark spot forms near the center, macular degeneration may be occurring and more advanced testing will be recommended.
As with several eye diseases, having a sudden change in your vision is a sign of an underlying issue. Any sudden change should be reported to your eye doctor immediately. For example, vision that is suddenly blurry or increased sensitivity to light are both indicators that something is amiss.