Vision Loss
Monday, Sept. 1, 2008

Vision loss can make accomplishing everyday tasks such as reading mail, watching television, signing your name or walking up and down stairs a challenge. In todayís 60 Second Housecall, Dr. Ed Hill discusses some of the common causes and what to do if vision loss affects you or a loved one.

Some vision changes are a normal part of aging, such as trouble focusing on close objects. Other common causes of vision loss are injury, infections and changes linked with other illnesses.

People who are legally blind have vision worse than 20/200. This means that they see objects that are 20 feet away as though they are 200 feet away.

The main causes of vision loss in people older than 40 years are:

* Macular degeneration. This happens because of changes in the back of the eye.

* Glaucoma. This is pressure from the fluid inside the eye.

* Cataracts. This is a clouding of the lens inside the eye.

* Diabetic retinopathy. This happens when people with diabetes have changes in the back of the eye because of high blood sugar.

You should visit your doctor if vision problems keep you from doing your normal activities. He or she can treat any problems that might be causing your vision loss or refer you to a specialist if necessary.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Ed Hill.