Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration: from the age of 40 regularly to the ophthalmologist

Glaucoma can cause blindness

The most insidious eye disease is glaucoma – also known as glaucoma. Around 500.50 people in Germany suffer from the disease, which is mainly caused by excessive intraocular pressure. One in ten of them is at risk of losing their eyesight. “People go blind because they don’t notice anything for a long time,” says Dr. Georg Eckert from the professional association of ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA).

“There is probably a high number of unreported cases of glaucoma. In the ophthalmological practices, an average of twelve percent of all patients are – successful – treated for glaucoma,” says the ophthalmologist. According to the expert, the disease is the second most common cause of blindness in this country. This is actually unnecessary, since glaucoma can be treated well if diagnosed in good time, says Eckert.

Macular degeneration is a widespread disease

Hardly anyone knows the term “age-related macular degeneration (AMD)” – although the disease is the most common cause of blindness in this country. AMD usually occurs after 50. year of life. About every third to fifth German is affected over 75 years. In the disease, the sensory cells at the point of sharpest vision perish. Those affected initially notice a blurry spot or gray shadow when reading, but have no pain. There are two forms of AMD:

The dry form is rather slow and insidious. In the wet form, blood vessels proliferate into the retina. This leads to a very rapid loss of vision. The greatest risk factors for AMD are smoking and high blood pressure. You can prevent this by not smoking and eating a healthy, vitamin-rich diet. Macular degeneration can also be treated well if it is discovered in good time.

Almost everyone gets cataracts

In more than 75 percent of people over 65, the lens gradually becomes cloudy – the age-related cataracts, also known as cataracts. In the early stages, vision is hardly affected, later sufferers have the feeling of seeing through a cloudy pane or a veil. However, according to Georg Eckert, the disease is easy to treat. Approximately 600. Germans are fitted with an artificial lens every year. The eyesight is thus fully restored. (Cataracts – what to do if the lens of the eye becomes cloudy?)

Diabetes endangers the retina

Another cause of blindness is diabetic retinopathy. In this disease, small blood vessels in the eye are damaged by diabetes. Visual acuity deteriorates, the field of vision is restricted and, in extreme cases, one can go blind. Type 1 diabetics are particularly at risk because they often become ill at a young age. But it can also affect type 2 diabetics, especially if their blood sugar is poorly controlled. It can be prevented by consistent diabetes therapy. If the retina is already severely damaged, only surgery or laser therapy can help.

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