Are Americans Blind To the Facts of Eye Diseases?
Where matters of the eyes are mentioned, Americans are generally ‘blind’ to the facts of eye diseases. Surveys conducted recently are providing evidence that nearly 47% of Americans are more concerned about losing their eyesight than their memory or their mobility. About 30% of the people, spoken to had never had their eyes checked. Let us look at the anatomy of the eye before we go ahead with other explanations.
The Eye Anatomy
Eyes have a very complex anatomy. The main structures of the eye include the following:
- Cornea: this is a clear tissue in the front area of the eye.
- Iris: this is the colored part of the eye which surrounds the pupil.
- Pupil: the dark hole within the iris controls the flow of light entering the eye.
- Lens: this is a small disk in the eye which focuses light rays on the retina.
- Retina: this is the layer which lines the rear of the eye. It’s capable of sensing light and creating electrical impulses which traveled through the optic nerve to the brain.
- Macula: this is the small central area of the retina which allows us to view fine details clearly.
- Optic nerve: the optic nerve is the link between the eye and the brain and is responsible for carrying the electrical impulses created by the retina to the visual cortex within the brain.
- Vitreous: this is a clear substance which resembles a jelly and occupies the middle of the eye.
Why Are Americans Neglecting the Facts of Eye Diseases
Like every individual throughout the world, Americans are also affected by different eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, conjunctivitis and eye allergies. Some of these conditions are related to different types of allergies while the others advance with age. Treatments for these problems are certainly available but require the individual to visit ophthalmologists and have their eyes checked. Unlike other problems of the body, self-medication is generally not advised for problems of the eyes especially with conditions like glaucoma or cataracts.
Eye Diseases and Diabetics
Diabetics are prone to problems with blood vessels throughout their bodies and they can also suffer from problems with their eyes in the form of diabetic retinopathy which can affect the blood vessels in the rears of the eyes and on their retina. Diabetic retinopathy can affect the individual in two forms. They are the following:
Non-proliferative retinopathy, which is not a severe condition but could be leading to bleeding in the retina which can cause the Wet Retina conditon.
Proliferative retinopathy which is a serious condition which leads to the growth of new abnormal blood vessels on the retina. The blood vessels can bleed into the vitreous causing visual problems.
The treatment for these conditions is available in the form of laser surgery but the damage they may cause is permanent. Diabetics are advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle and control their glucose according to advice provided by the physicians if they wish to prevent diabetic retinopathy.
Other eye diseases which are often ignored by Americans are the problems caused by a natural aging process of the body. These conditions are not harmful but can certainly cause blindness in the individual. They are known as floaters and can be diagnosed by ophthalmologists. However, until today, no treatment for this condition is available within the medical fraternity.
As it is common throughout the world, Americans as well have difficulties when focusing on objects which are close to them and despite this condition mostly appears in aged people, youngsters can in some cases also fall prey to this condition. The problem can easily be treated by using glasses, contact lenses and in certain cases even surgery to rectify the condition.
Myopia is another condition that makes people unable to see objects away from them despite being able to view objects close to them clearly. Myopia can again be treated by using eyeglasses, contact lenses or opting for surgery.
Americans need to take care of their eyes if they intend to protect their vision. Using eye protection to avoid injuries and wearing sunglasses as a method of protecting the eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun, is always advised. People over the age of 40 should have their eyes checked every two years but the frequency is one year for people who are over the age of 60. Any problem or symptom belonging to one of the conditions discussed in this article, if noticed, must be reported to the ophthalmologist before it leads to a permanent damage.
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