Blindness: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Blindness is a lack of vision or losing ability to see something, including light. People with vision less than 20/200, even with eyeglasses or contact lenses, are viewed as legally blind in most U.S. states. (1)

If you are partially blind, your eyesight is limited. For example, you may have blurred vision or the inability to differentiate between shapes and objects. Total blindness means that you cannot see anything. Certain types of vision loss do not lead to complete blindness.

  • Partial blindness indicates that your vision is very limited.
  • Complete blindness means that you are not able to see anything or also the light.

Check with a doctor immediately if you suddenly lose your ability to see. Someone take you to the emergency room to get better.

Depending on what caused you to be blind, Immediate treatment can improve your chances of re-establishing your vision. Treatment may require surgical intervention or medication.

Symptoms of blindness?

When you’re completely blind, you don’t see anything. If you are partially blind, you may have symptoms such as:

  • tunnel vision
  • cloudy vision
  • an inability to see shapes
  • Looking at nothing but shadows
  • poor night visibility

Symptoms of blindness in infants

Your child’s visual system starts developing in mother’s womb. It only forms when it is 2 years old.

Within 6 to 8 weeks, your baby should be able to focus on an object and track its movement. At 4 months of age, their eyes must be correctly aligned and not turned inwards or outwards.

Symptoms of vision loss in small children may include:

  • poor focusing
  • extreme sensitivity to sunlight.
  • chronically redness of the eyes.
  • chronically tearing their eyes.
  • a white instead of black pupil
  • poor visual identification or difficulty in following an object with eyes.
  • an abnormally aligned or moving eye after 6 months of age.

What causes blindness?

Blindness may occur due to the following eye diseases and conditions In the US, the main causes include: (2)

  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Optic neuritis
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Injury or damage to the surface of the eye.

Blindness is a possible complication if you suffer from diabetes or stroke. Other common reasons for blindness are:

  • eye injuries
  • birth defects
  • eye surgical complications.

Causes of blindness in infants

Conditions that may affect vision or cause blindness in infants include:

  • ptosis
  • congenital glaucoma
  • infections, like pink eye
  • blocked tear ducts
  • cataracts
  • strabismus
  • amblyopia
  • retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
  • visual inattention

Additional causes of vision loss are:

  • There’s a blockage of blood vessels.
  • Retrolental fibroplasia

Who’s at risk for blindness?

The following groups of people are exposed to blindness:

  • such as macular degeneration and glaucoma
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • patients undergoing eye surgery.
  • premature babies

How is blindness diagnosed?

An in-depth eye examination by an optometrist will help you identify the cause of your blindness or partial vision loss.

Your ophthalmologist will give you a set of tests which will measure:

  • clarity in your vision.
  • the function of the eye’s muscles.
  • how your pupils respond to light.

They will check the overall health of your eyes with a slit lamp. This is a low-power microscope and a high-intensity light. (3)

Diagnosing blindness in infants

A pediatrician will look into your baby’s eye problems soon after birth. When you’re child are six months old, ask an ophthalmologist or pediatrician to check your child’s visual acuity, concentration and eye alignment again.

The physician will examine your baby’s eye structures and determine whether he can follow a light or colored object with his eyes.

Your child should have the ability to watch for visual stimuli by 6 to 8 weeks of age. If your child does not respond to the light that shines in his or her eyes or focuses on colored objects at the age of 2 to 3 months, have his or her eyes examined immediately.

Have your child’s eyes looked at if you Notice the crossed eyes or anything like symptoms of visual impairment.

How is blindness treated?

In certain cases of visual impairment, one or more of the following can be helpful in re-establishing vision:

  • surgery
  • medication
  • eyeglasses
  • contact lenses

If you are partially blind and cannot be corrected, your physician will tell you how to operate with limited vision. For example, it is possible to use a magnifying glass to read, Expand your computer’s text size and use audio clocks and audio books.

Total or complete blindness demands a new way of looking at life and acquiring new skills. For example, it may be necessary to learn how to:

  • read Braille
  • working with a guide dog.
  • Arrange your house so that you can easily find things and remain safe
  • Fold money separately to differentiate amounts from bills.

You may also consider obtaining suitable products, such as a specialised smartphone, a colour identifier and accessible kitchen utensils. There are even adapted sports equipment, for example sensory soccer balls.

What’s the long term outlook?

A person’s long-term prospects for re-establishing vision and slowing down vision loss are best when treatment is preventive and requested immediately.

Surgery may be effective in treating cataracts. This does not necessarily lead to blindness. Early diagnosis and therapy are also important for glaucoma and macular degeneration to Assist with slowing or stopping vision loss.

How can blindness be prevented?

To detect eye conditions and help prevent vision loss, check your eyes regularly. If you are diagnosed with certain eye diseases, such as glaucoma, medication may help prevent blindness.

For the prevention of vision loss, As per the American Optometric Association recommends that you have the eyes of your child examined:

  • at the age of 6 months
  • at the age of 3 year
  • annually between the ages of 6 and 17

If you experience symptoms of vision loss between routine visits, set up an appointment with your ophthalmologist immediately.

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