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Common eye conditions in people over 50

• Macular Degeneration - The most common cause of vision loss, this disease is characterized by vision loss I the center of the eye; blurred vision; straight lines looking wavy; needing more light to see. It can affect either one or both eyes.

• Glaucoma - The leading cause of blindness in the United States. It is characterized by gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision; difficulty driving at night; loss of contrast. It is important to get treatment for early symptoms to prevent total blindness.

• Cataracts - Causes clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. Its symptoms are hazy vision; difficulty driving at night; double vision; trouble distinguishing colors; sensitivity to glare. It typically develops gradually. Through surgery, cataracts can be removed and the lens of the eye replaced by a plastic lens.

• Diabetic Retinopathy - Typically occurs in people with advanced diabetes and high blood sugar levels. It is caused by leaking blood vessels. Its symptoms are blurred or changing vision; difficulty reading; floaters that affect either central or peripheral vision. Estimates are that 25 percent of people with diabetes have some diabetic retinopathy, but few people develop severe vision problems. There are often no symptoms in the early stages, so people with advanced diabetes should have regular vision exams. The best prevention is maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

A doctor should be seen immediately if a person has any acute or prolonged episodes like blurred vision, flashes of light, blind spots or any other symptom that affects vision.

(Taken from Caregiver Assistance Newsletter)

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