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The causes and prevention of vision loss

Vision loss means total or partial loss of vision. Depending on the cause, it can occur suddenly or gradually, in one or both eyes. Some types of vision loss are temporary or reversible. Vision loss is relatively common. Indeed, vision problems are among the top ten disabilities in adults and among the most common disabilities in children. Experts predict that cases could rise drastically by 2050 due to rising rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases, as well as a rapidly aging population.

There are many possible causes of partial or complete vision loss, including medical conditions, injury, migraine, and aging. This article examines the different types of vision loss, the causes of sudden or gradual vision loss, treatments and coping methods.

Types of vision loss

Vision loss is the term for the loss of the ability to see properly. There are different types of vision loss, and these can be caused by different diseases or conditions, including:

– loss of central vision, or difficulty seeing things in the center of vision.

– – loss of peripheral vision, or difficulty seeing things out of the corner of the eye

– general vision loss, which results in an inability to see anything

– hemeralopia, which results in difficulty seeing in low light conditions

– blurry or foggy vision: the person has the impression that their vision is blurred or that they are looking through a filter.

– You may also be unable to see shapes or only see shadows.

Causes of Sudden Vision Loss

Sudden vision loss is vision loss that occurs over a period of seconds or minutes to days. It can be caused by various ailments.


Many migraine sufferers experience visual symptoms, known as migraine aura. About 25-30% of migraine sufferers experience symptoms of aura visual. For some, it’s zigzag lines, flickers, or spots. For others, it is tunnel vision, total loss of vision, or loss of vision to the left or right. These visual disturbances are often, but not always, accompanied by a headache. They tend to last less than an hour, and usually persist for 10 to 30 minutes. Some disappear after a few seconds. Treatment for migraine may include taking painkillers and staying in a dark room away from bright lights and loud sounds.


Keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, is a condition that can occur more frequently in people who wear contact lenses than in those who don’t.

Keratitis can be caused by infection or injury to the eye. Symptoms include blurred vision, pain, sensitivity to light, or loss of vision. This condition is temporary. A doctor will treat her with prescription medication.


Also known as conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis can cause vision loss. Conjunctivitis is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can also cause blurred vision, redness, pain or difficulty seeing. Conjunctivitis is temporary and usually goes away on its own. For bacterial conjunctivitis, antibiotic eye drops may helpTrusted Source.

Eye fatigue

If a person stares at a screen for too long, they may begin to lose their sight and feel that the objects they are looking at are blurry. This phenomenon is usually temporary and can be resolved by stepping away from the screen and allowing the eyes to rest. The 20-20-20 rule can help prevent eye strain. This means that a person looks away from the screen every 20 minutes, to look at something 20 meters away, for 20 seconds.

Corneal abrasion

An eye injury can also lead to sudden vision loss. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be temporary or permanent and treatment may vary accordingly. It is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist to assess the severity of the injury.

Causes of gradual vision loss

Vision loss is not always sudden. It can sometimes occur over a long period of time.

Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that can affect a person’s central vision. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 50 and over. It can happen very gradually or quite quickly. Many people begin to see a blurry area near the center of their vision, which can grow in size over time.


Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, located at the back of the eye. Symptoms of glaucoma can come on so gradually that a person may not know they have it until they have an eye exam. It can manifest in one or both eyes. Without treatment, glaucoma can eventually cause blindness, starting with peripheral vision. Doctors use different types of glaucoma treatment, including medications (usually eye drops), laser treatment, and surgery. Treatment cannot reverse damage already done.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition that causes vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes. It affects the blood vessels in the retina, which is the layer of light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Anyone with any form of diabetes can have diabetic retinopathy. It is therefore important that a diabetic person undergo regular eye examinations in order to detect it in time. Symptoms are not always noticeable in the early stages. Treatment may involve medication, laser treatment, or surgery. In 90% of cases, diabetes-related blindness can be avoided. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can progress to total and permanent blindness.

When to consult a doctor

Many types of vision impairment can be prevented with early diagnosis and prompt treatment. If a person notices they are losing their sight, they should make an appointment with their healthcare provider to have their condition checked. It may not be a cause for concern, but it is best to get professional advice.

If symptoms of vision loss are accompanied by any of the following symptoms, a person should seek medical attention immediately:

– severe headache

– difficulty speaking

– facial sagging

– loss of muscle control on one side of the body

– severe eye pain

These symptoms may be signs of a stroke or other serious medical condition.


If a person experiences sudden vision loss, it should be treated as a medical emergency and prompt medical attention. To diagnose vision loss, a doctor may perform an eye exam. He can shine a light in the person’s eyes or ask him to read the letters on a board to measure his vision. Diagnosis may also include a neurological exam to test eye and brain function.

How to cope with vision loss

Coping with vision loss can be difficult, especially if it is permanent. There are some things a person can do to help themselves cope, and there are also government services that can help.

Ways to deal with partial or total vision loss can be:

– rearrange the house for easier navigation

– apply for social security assistance

– talk therapy

– learn braille

– use a guide dog


It’s not always possible to prevent vision loss, but people can take steps to look after their eye health.

People can practice good eye health by taking the following steps:

– Rest your eyes

Every 20 minutes, take a break from looking at a screen and look at something about 20 meters away for 20 seconds.

Wear protective glasses

Wear safety glasses or goggles when performing certain activities, such as playing certain sports, construction work, or household repairs.

Wear sunglasses

Choose sunglasses that protect the eyes against 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.

Getting regular eye exams, knowing your risk of eye disease, eating well, and quitting smoking can also help protect your eyes.

Vision loss can have many causes. Temporary causes include migraine and conjunctivitis. Medical conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy and AMD, can cause permanent vision loss. Often there are no warning signs or symptoms of eye disease. Diagnosing and treating eye problems early is the best way to keep your eyes healthy, and it’s important to see a doctor if you experience vision loss.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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