Eye Conditions that Affect Central Vision
A large portion of the population lives the majority of their lives with vision impairment. However, others enjoy clear eyesight for years, only to experience a loss of vision as they age and eye conditions develop. Routine eye exams to monitor eye health and vision are the best way to diagnose such eye conditions early on when they can still be easily managed or treated, so that vision can be preserved.
At Choate Eye Associates, Dr. Walter Choate offers a comprehensive range of eye care services, including treatment for some of the most common eye conditions. Here, we’ll be discussing eye conditions that are known to affect the central vision. Vision conditions that affect central vision can leave our Nashville, TN patients struggling to perform day-to-day tasks. Fortunately, Dr. Choate can provide treatment to manage these conditions and improve the quality of life for patients.
Although most people tend to think of vision as one broad process, vision conditions can affect central vision and peripheral vision. Central vision describes that which is used to focus on small detail. Central vision allows people to read, drive, recognize faces, and perform other detailed tasks. The part of the eye that is primarily responsible for central vision is the macula. The macula lies at the center of the retina, the sensitive layer of nerves that sits at the back of the eye. If the macula becomes damaged in any way, central vision will be compromised.
Eye Conditions that Damage Central Vision
Any eye condition that wears down or damages the macula is likely to result in a loss of central vision. The most common causes of central vision loss include:
- Age-related macular degeneration: Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the single leading cause of central vision loss, and is the overall leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. There are two forms of AMD: dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. When a patient has dry macular degeneration, the macula gets thinner and small clumps of protein grow, thus interfering with central vision. When a patient has wet macular degeneration, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluids that can scar the macula and compromise central vision.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a cause of central vision loss among diabetic patients, particularly those with uncontrolled diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to swell and leak. In some cases, high blood sugar levels can cause blood vessels in the retina to close off so that blood flow is interrupted. In either case, the retina and macula will be compromised, making central vision loss likely.
- Macular edema: Macular edema is a condition in which the macula swells or gets thicker. If the macula is swollen, it will not be able to function properly and central vision will be compromised.
- Macular pucker or hole: A macular pucker describes macular tissue that is bumpy or wrinkled rather than flat against the back of the eye. A macular hole is a small opening in the tissues of the macula. A macular hole may form as a side effect of aging, or may result when the macula swells due to other retinal conditions. Both macular pucker and a macular hole will distort central vision, making it appear blurry or wavy.
Central vision is vital to a multitude of daily tasks, so it is important to treat any macular conditions as soon as possible so that central vision can be preserved. Dr. Choate offers a variety of eye treatments for a full range of retinal conditions, including those responsible for central vision loss.
Treatments may include prescription eye wear, medication, or laser treatment. The treatment plan that is right for each patient will depend on what is causing central vision loss, as well as the specific needs of each patient. Dr. Choate will personalize a treatment plan that is appropriate for each patient.
If you have experienced a change in vision, it is important to see an experienced eye doctor as soon as possible. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the comprehensive range of eye care services available at Choate Eye Associates.