By Jeffrey Whitman, M.D., Key-Whitman Eye Center
While our vision brings us joys year-round, summer in Texas is a special time to take in the sights. Whether it’s gazing up at the stars in Big Bend National Park or marveling at the architecture in Galveston’s Strand Historic District, your eyes allow you to take in life’s many pleasure.
But in Texas, eye disease is a particular problem. According to the Texas Department of Health Services, 18% of Texans have an eye disease. Due to the increase in America’s aging population, the impact of diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco use, eye disease and vision loss are on the rise in the Lone Star State.
Common vision loss ailments include macular degeneration. Symptoms for this disease may include a dark area in the center of your vision and the gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly. Another leading cause of vision loss is glaucoma, which causes progressive degeneration of the optic nerve and again, leads to loss of vision.
Cataracts remain the most common cause of blindness, especially for older individuals, although this condition can be easily corrected. Finally, there are complications from diabetes known as diabetic retinopathy which doesn’t necessarily produce symptoms and can result in damage to the blood vessels in the retina. The best defense is early, and regular, vision screenings, particularly if you suffer from diabetes. [Read more…]