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  • Writer's pictureThabo Baseki

Understanding Blindness


Standing beside the water is a piece of artwork containing the word "Understanding"

There are many factors that may cause one to become blind. Such include genes, accidental, and environmental factors. But what is meant by being blind?

One is referred to as being blind after what they see is less than 20/200 in their good eye after correction, such as glasses or contacts.

Now that we know what blindness is, what then causes it? Let’s examine three possible causes in this write-up.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This is caused by diabetes. It affects the retina, the part of the eye sensitive to light. It is a result of high blood glucose over a long period of time. High blood sugar prevents the blood vessels in the back of the eye from delivering the proper nutrients to the retina. Early on in the progress of the disease, these blood vessels will leak fluid and will cause sight misrepresentations. As the disease progresses, new blood vessels are formed around the retina. These vessels will bleed, making the vision cloudy and eventually causing the retina to detach. If not treated, a retinal detachment may cause permanent blindness.

How Can This be Prevented?

Blindness caused by Diabetic Retinopathy can be prevented by laser surgery, a proper diet and controlling your blood glucose levels and blood pressure.

Glaucoma

This is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It is caused by excess fluid in the eye which increases the eye pressure. This fluid is called aqueous humor. It is produced in the front portion of the eye and leaves the eye through the drainage angle. This keeps the intraocular pressure at a healthy level. This pressure may vary from person to person. When the fluid does not leave the eye correctly, it will cause pressure to increase which will gradually damage the optic nerve. There are two types of glaucoma - Primary Open-angle Glaucoma and Normal-tension Glaucoma.

Open-angle Glaucoma happens when your eye can no longer drain fluid efficiently, causing the pressure to build. It has no early symptoms. As it progresses, the optic nerve will become damaged, and one will start to notice unqualified spots in their vision. These spots will grow larger until all optic nerves are damaged, and it is at this point a person is said to be blind.

Taking Control of Glaucoma:

Use of prescription eye drops or surgery.

Blindness Caused by Cataracts

Cataracts are caused by the clouding of the lens of the eye. This means that the light that comes through the pupil and passes through the lens to be focused to the retina is blurred. This will cause one’s vision to become blurry or dim. Colors may not seem as bright as before. Imagine looking through a dirty mirror or stained glass. This condition occurs over time and may be not noticed at first.

Treatment of Cataracts?

It can be treated with surgery.

If you have any of the signs discussed above, consider seeing an optician. Better to address the problem at its before maturity. You may ask, what if it’s too late and I will soon be blind? We published an article with the title, A Sudden Change to help you get started. It provides you with practical suggestions you can do at a personal level. Always remember though, that you will need assistance beyond what you can do on your own. Reach out, and you may be helped to feel better about yourself.

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