Blindness is the inability to see anything, even light. If you’re partially blind, you have limited vision. Complete blindness means that you can’t see at all and are in total darkness. Legal blindness refers to vision that’s highly compromised. What a person with healthy eyes can see from 200 feet away a legally blind person can see only from 20 feet away.
What Are the Symptoms of Blindness?
If you’re completely blind, you can see nothing. If you’re partially blind, you might experience the following symptoms:
- cloudy vision
- an inability to see shapes
- seeing only shadows
- poor night vision
- tunnel vision
What Causes Blindness?
The following eye diseases and conditions can cause blindness:
- Glaucoma refers to four different eye conditions that can damage your optic nerve, which carries visual information from your eyes to your brain.
- Macular degeneration destroys the part of your eye that enables you to see details. It usually affects older adults.
- Cataracts cause cloudy vision. They’re more common in older people.
- Optic neuritis is inflammation that can cause temporary or permanent vision loss.
- Retinitis pigmentosa refers to damage of the retina. It leads to blindness only in rare cases.
- Tumors that affect your retina or optic nerve can also cause blindness.
Who Is at Risk of Blindness?
The following categories of people are at risk of blindness:
- people with eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma
- people with diabetes
- people who have a stroke
- eye surgery patients
- people who work with or near sharp objects or toxic chemicals
- premature babies
How Is Blindness Diagnosed?
A thorough eye exam by an optometrist will help to determine the cause of your blindness or partial loss of vision. Your eye doctor will administer a series of tests that measure the clarity of your vision, the function of your eye muscles, and how your pupils react to light. They’ll examine the general health of your eyes using a slit lamp, which is a low-power microscope paired with a high-intensity light.
How Is Blindness Treated?
In some cases of vision impairment, one or more of the following may help to restore your vision:
- contact lenses
How Can Blindness Be Prevented?
To detect eye diseases and help prevent vision loss, get regular eye examinations. If you’re diagnosed with certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, treatment with medication can help prevent blindness.Have your child’s eyes examined at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, and every two years between the ages of 6 and 18 years old to help prevent vision loss. If you notice symptoms of vision loss between routine visits, make an appointment with their eye doctor immediately.