With many causes blindness is a condition which affects all ages and all societies worldwide. There are varying degrees of blindness; total blindness, where there is total loss of vision in both eyes and partially sighted, where vision can range from being only able to differentiate between light and shade, vision at extremely short distances or tunnel vision. In the west, blindness is most commonly due to glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and senile cataracts.
Glaucoma is a term used to describe a number of retinal conditions caused by raised pressure within the eye. The conditions can be both chronic, painless and without symptoms (until the later stages of the disease) or sudden, painful with some early warning signs. These signs include 'haloes' around street lights at night, due to the sudden dilation of the pupil for night vision. Depending on the type of glaucoma treatment can include eye drops, tablets or surgery.
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition, which can in some sufferers of diabetes, ultimately lead to blindness. The sufferer experiences micro-aneurysms or small bleeds and hypertensive changes across the retina. Hemorrhages and detachment of the retina leading to blindness can then follow.
Other causes of blindness, to name but a few include; Congenital defects, trauma, Vitamin A deficiency, parasitic infection by worms, leprosy, African trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis and toxocara infection.
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