Vision loss, also known as visual or vision impairment, is the reduced capacity for the eyes to see. The degree varies and may cause problems with learning, reading, driving, walking, visiting friends, and activities of daily living. Normally, traditional glasses or contact lenses are not able to correct the disorder. Corrected visual acuity of worse than 20/60 or 20/40 is the definition of vision loss. Whereas, nearly complete or total vision loss is blindness.
Causes of vision loss
The most common cause of rapid, unexpected vision loss is ischemia. It is sudden, painless interruption of blood flow to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmission of visual information from the eye to the brain. Individuals with migraine headaches may experience scotoma, which is a blind spot in the visual field. Temporary loss of vision may also be seen with amaurosis fugax. This is where blood flow to the retina in one or both eyes is blocked. In the older population, the leading cause of blindness is age-related macular degeneration. It is typified by loss of central vision. The second leading cause of blindness is glaucoma.
Individuals who have the following conditions may be at elevated risk for acute vision loss.
• Diabetic retinopathy
• Vascular occlusions of the retina
• Central retinal artery occlusion
• Central retinal vein occlusion
• Ischemic optic neuropathy
• Temporal arteritis
• Vitreous hemorrhage
It is essential to ask questions, know your risks and proactively manage them in collaboration with your vision care specialist.
These conditions will not go away by themselves. You must get treatment as early as possible in order to have the best outcome. There are multiple diseases of the eye and each one will have its own treatment plan. These choices may include surgical and non-surgical measures, antibiotics, eye drops or ointments, glasses or contact lenses, or oral medications.
Whether sudden or gradual vision loss is a serious condition that requires immediate intervention; therefore, see your physician or go to the emergency room. We only have one set of eyes and you deserve excellent visual health.