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Ojas Eye Hospital in Bandra, Kandivali, Mumbai

Is your eyesight getting worse?

Is your eyesight getting worse?

October 14, 2022

– Dr Niteen Dedhia, Dr Komal Sangoi

If you feel your eyesight is getting worse either suddenly or gradually, the best thing would be to visit an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). To understand why your eyesight may be deteriorating, we take a closer look at a few reasons:

Younger  age groups : (upto 40 years ) :

  • Refractive errors : This is the most common cause for defective vision in this age group. It can either be for distant objects (Myopia) or for near (Hypermetropia). This can very easily be corrected by either glasses or contact lenses. Surgical procedures like LASIK, Contoura and Phakic Intraocular lenses are other options that can free you from spectacle dependency.
  • Keratoconus : This is a condition in which the front portion of the eye (i.e cornea) bulges forward resulting in blurring of vision , double vision , frequent changes of glass power and poor quality of vision even after wearing spectacles. Various modalities are available for treatment including collagen cross linking with riboflavin (C3R) , INTACS and customised contact lenses.
  • Spasm of accommodation : It is seen in individuals involved in prolonged near work  could be reading , computer use etc.  In this condition following prolonged near work, the distance vision appears blurred. Pt also complains of tired eyes, frequent headaches, eye strain while working. Best treatment is to take a break from work for a day or two to let you eye muscles, the much needed break.
  • Computer vision syndrome : Eye strain, headache, neck pain, watering , blurring of vision, dry eyes experienced due to prolonged hours spent using visual devices like computers, phones, tablets, television etc is known as computer vision syndrome. Taking frequent breaks, good work posture, blinking eyes consciously, maintaining adequate lighting will help reduce the symptoms.
  • Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR) : CSR is build up of fluid under the retina resulting in diminished or distorted vision. Usually affects one eye at a time, rarely can affect both eyes. It is most commonly seen in males in the age group of 30 – 50 years. Stress is a very important risk factor. Usually it resolves in one to two months without any treatment with good recovery of the vision.

Middle age group (45 to 60 years ) :

  • Presbyopia : As you age, especially in the 40 to 50 age bracket, your eyesight may decline for close-up tasks, such as reading and looking at the fine print of smartphone screens. This happens because your crystalline lens becomes less flexible, making it hard to focus on close-up images. This condition is called presbyopia and will affect all of us at some stage in our lives. This is very easily corrected with glasses.
  • Glaucoma : It is a group of conditions in which the nerve connecting the eye and the brain (optic nerve ) gets damaged . Most common cause is rise in intra-ocular pressure (eye pressure). The more common type of glaucoma (open angle )often has no symptoms other than very slow vision loss. Hence it is very important to get your eyes checked routinely especially if you have any family members who suffer from glaucoma. Main treatment consists of antiglaucoma eyedrops. Surgery is considered when there is no improvement with medication.  The other type of glaucoma (angle closure) is a medical emergency and is characterised by very painful, watery eyes, photophobia and blurring of vision. Immediate medical help should be sought.
  • Cataract :  Many people especially in their late 50s or early 60s start to develop cataract.  Symptoms include changing glass power, blurring vision, difficulty in night driving , glare etc. A visit to your ophthalmologist will help clarify whether you have this problem or not. Treatment consists of surgical removal of the cataractous lens followed by implantation of artificial lens inside the eye.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy : It is caused due to damage to the blood vessels of the retina due to poorly controlled blood sugar. A yearly check- up of retina by an ophthalmologist is a must to detect this problem. Depending on the condition, treatment consists of laser to the retina and injections given into the eye. In very advanced cases surgical intervention may be necessary.

Older age group (Above 60 years) :

  • Cataract : It is the most common cause for reducing vision in this age group.Symptoms include changing glass power, blurring vision, difficulty in night driving, glare etc. A visit to your ophthalmologist will help clarify whether you have this problem or not.Treatment consists of surgical removal of the cataractous lens followed by implantation of artificial lens inside the eye.
  • Glaucoma : It is a group of conditions in which the nerve connecting the eye and the brain (optic nerve ) gets damaged . Most common cause is rise in intra-ocular pressure (eye pressure). The more common type of glaucoma (open angle)often has no symptoms other than very slow vision loss. Hence it is very important to get your eyes checked routinely especially if you have any family members who suffer from glaucoma.Main treatment consists of antiglaucoma eye drops. Surgery is considered when there is no improvement with medication  The other type of glaucoma (angle closure) is a medical emergency and is characterised by very painful, watery eyes, photophobia and blurring of vision. Immediate medical help should be sought.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy : It is caused due to damage to the blood vessels of the retina due to poorly controlled blood sugar. A yearly check- up of retina by an ophthalmologist is a must to detect this problem at the earliest and to provide necessary treatment to prevent permanent vision loss. . Depending on the condition, treatment consists of laser to the retina and injections given into the eye. In very advanced cases surgical management may be necessary.
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) : It is  degeneration of the retina which affects the central vision. It could either be dry ARMD where the central retina (macula) deteriorates or wet ARMD where leaky blood vessels grow under the retina. A special combination of vitamins and minerals may reduce disease progression in dry ARMD. Whereas LASER and eye injections are used to treat wet ARMD.
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