4 Preventable Causes of Blindness – and How to Fight Them

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on February 20, 2023

There are many conditions and situations that can cause vision loss. However, some of the most common are preventable. Causes of blindness, particularly in the United States and other developed nations, can often be addressed through means that are under our control.

Here are four of the most common preventable causes of blindness, along with the steps you can take to keep them from robbing you of your precious vision.

  1. Cataracts

Cataracts can go unnoticed at first or be mistaken for normal changes in vision. But this gradual clouding of the lens of the eye is the leading cause of vision loss in adults in the United States. 

What to do: Get annual eye exams. Early detection is the most important (and easiest) way to prevent blindness from cataract and other progressive eye diseases. Your eye doctor can run a series of sophisticated and precise tests, measurements and imaging to determine if you are beginning to develop cataracts, long before you lose a significant degree of vision. These tests will also detect age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and other eye issues before they can do permanent damage.

  1. Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) affects more than 4 million adults aged 20-74 in the U.S., making it the leading cause of blindness in the nation’s adult population. DR deteriorates vision by damaging the delicate blood vessels and light-sensitive tissues at the back of the eye and usually affects both eyes.

What to do: Get diabetes under control. It is vital to manage diabetes to prevent diabetic retinopathy, as well as a number of life-threatening complications of diabetes. A specialist in endocrinology can help you manage blood sugar, weight and other health factors that influence diabetes risk.

As with cataracts, early detection of diabetic retinopathy through routine eye exams is recommended.

  1. Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A protects and nourishes the cornea. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause corneal scarring and injury, leading to blindness. It is most common in children in developing countries, where less-than-optimal nutrition and low vaccination rates influence vitamin A deficiency.

What to do: Get a balanced diet. An abundance of wholesome, fresh foods in a child’s diet greatly reduces the risk of vitamin A deficiency. If it becomes difficult to get enough vitamin A through diet alone, supplements can close the nutrition gap.

Keep up with childhood vaccinations. Because measles can cause vitamin A deficiency, you can lower the risk by ensuring your child is up to date on the vaccine.

  1. Contact lenses

Contact lenses have direct contact with the eye, which means they can be dangerous in certain situations. For example, you could get an eye injury from a damaged lens or a dangerous infection from dirty contacts. Even people who take fastidious care of their contact lenses can develop painful contact lens intolerance that can threaten their vision.

What to do: Practice good contact lens hygiene. 

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Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients attain freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a thorough eye exam or visit MissouriEye.com to learn more about our services.


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