USR member Scott Jamieson, in his best of humor, took the assemblage on a rapid-fire visit to eye diseases. Several of his points:
- Good vision is the main cause of blindness, in that, by the time something sinister (or dextral) is found, it may be too late.
- Other risk factors are smoking, aging, sedentary lifestyle, and nutritional matters.
- The optic nerve is actually part of the brain, and as such, is largely unforgiving in injury or illness.
- Antioxidants are deemed beneficial in reducing risk of eye disease.
- The macula, occupying a small part of the retina, is responsible for 95% of vision. Ergo, Macular Degeneration (MD) is a serious threat.
- The “dry” type of MD, typified by the stippling presence of drusen, cannot be treated.
- Dry MD can lead to the exudative or “wet” form, with its proliferation of abnormal blood vessels and spillage of red cells.
- An injection treatment for wet MD may slow the process, but is no cure. Untreated wet MD leads to blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy is the second leading cause of blindness.
- Bleeding into the vitreous can result in clots to impair vision, as can retinal detachment.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa is untreatable.
- Glaucoma is often an insidious condition in that there is often no pain.
- In glaucoma, blood flow is compromised, starving the anterior part of the eye of oxygen.
- It is important to realize that glaucoma can be managed but never cured. The pressure must be kept down.
- African Americans are quite susceptible to glaucoma. Per Scott: 50% have the condition and do not know it.
- Cataract surgery now entails the choice of the lenses to be implanted.
In conclusion: “Those who are wise take care of their eyes.”