- LIVING WITH LOW VISION
- GUIDE AND ASSISTANCE DOGS
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Blindness or Low Vision can result from a large number of eye conditions, through accidents or result through other diseases such as types of cancers or strokes.
Some of the most common conditions are:
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a degenerative, inherited eye condition which affects the retina, resulting in progressive vision loss. The condition can cause tunnel vision in some people, while others experience a loss of their central vision. Night Blindness is also a common symptom of RP
Macular Degeneration (MD) is damage or breakdown of the macula. The macula is the part of the retina which allows us to see clearly and appreciate colour. The condition causes the blurring of central vision and can result in the dimming of colour vision, difficulty in judging heights and distances, and some difficulty with tasks such as pouring tea. MD does not lead to total blindness. People with MD mostly retain good side vision.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. A cataract is usually an age-related condition, which disturbs the passage of light and prevents the eye from focussing correctly. The person with a cataract may have blurred vision, suffer from glare and find bright lights uncomfortable. The progression of cataracts varies between each individual and often between each eye in the same person. Cataracts can cause blindness, but this can be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment.
Homonymous Hemianopia is not an eye condition but instead relates to the brains impaired ability to receive the information transmitted from the eyes. This is a condition sometimes found after a stroke or some injury to the brain. The person experiencing this condition will often have difficulty seeing one side of their surrounding environment, or will report that one side appears different from the other.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in Australia. If it is diagnosed early, blindness is nearly always preventable. Glaucoma is usually caused by a build-up of pressure in the eye. This pressure causes damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma tends to happen slowly, often with no noticeable changes until after the damage is done. A person with Glaucoma will usually have their side vision affected, the edge of the field of vision starts to fade, causing vision to narrow. Glaucoma can also cause blank areas closer to the centre of vision. Some warning signs include blurred vision, seeing coloured rings around lights, loss of side vision, pain and redness of the eye.
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by diabetes, although having diabetes does not necessarily lead to sight loss. Retinopathy affects the retina. The retina is at the back of the eye and is made up of cells which are sensitive to light. A network of blood vessels feeds the retina. Diabetes can cause blood vessels to break and this can interfere with vision. Blood clots and scars may form on the retina, blocking the light rays from nerve cells and interfering with their nutrition. Complete loss of vision can occur when scar tissue develops at the back of the eye.