What diseases cause eye problems

From 50 it gets critical: The seven biggest enemies for the eyes

The eyes are the most important sensory organ: In order to maintain your eyesight even in old age, you should pay sufficient attention to the eyes and avoid risk factors. A doctor reveals the greatest enemies of the eyes.

We perceive more than 80 percent of environmental stimuli through our eyes. In their function they are similar to a camera. Eyelashes and eyebrows protect the eye and blinking and tears are supposed to drive away unwanted intruders. But there are some underestimated factors that can harm the eye.

"Especially from the age of 50, it is the so-called common diseases of ophthalmology that affect our eyesight," says Dr. Georg Eckert, ophthalmologist and press officer for the professional association of ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA). "Including, for example, the beginnings of cataracts, also known as cataracts."

Cataracts threaten from 50

In cataracts, the proteins in the lens of the eye crystallize and cloud the view. Those affected then see through a frosted glass. Green star, also known as glaucoma, can occur at a young age. The optic nerve is slowly destroyed due to increased intraocular pressure. Without treatment, the affected person goes blind.

UV light is underestimated

But age is not the only enemy for the eyes. Too much UV light can also lead to permanent damage to the lens and retina. The critical thing is that the person concerned does not notice anything. Only years later are macular degeneration and cataracts among the possible consequences.

When the sun is combined with snow, there is even a risk of snow blindness, a kind of sunburn on the eyes. "The uppermost cell layers of the cornea are damaged, which leads to considerable pain and short-term vision problems," explains Eckert. The best protection is sunglasses.

Good sunglasses are essential

The BVA recommends buying sunglasses from specialist retailers or an optician to make sure that they have sufficient UV protection. To rely only on the color of the glasses is reckless. It says nothing about UV protection. The size of the lenses is also important. These should reach to the eyebrows and laterally to the edge of the face.

Blue haze promotes macular degeneration

Smoking is often underestimated. It is well known that the blue haze increases the risk of cancer and stroke, among other things. How critical it can become for the eyes is less. "Smoking leads to the earlier development of macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in old age," warns the eye expert.

In addition, the pollutants contained in cigarettes inhibit blood flow to the eye. If this is not adequately supplied with oxygen, the eyesight can deteriorate. "How closely the blood flow and the eye are related can be seen from the fact that doctors can diagnose high blood pressure and diabetes in the eye, for example," explains Eckert. "The eye is the only part of the body where blood vessels are clearly visible."

High blood pressure and diabetes damage the eyes

Conversely, this means that untreated high blood pressure or poorly controlled diabetes can damage the eyes in the long term, as the fine vessels that supply the retina with blood are destroyed. The so-called diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of people with diabetes. The eyesight decreases and in the worst case the patient goes blind.

In addition, diabetics have a higher risk of developing cataracts than healthy people. Therefore, diabetics and high blood pressure patients should have an eye check once a year.

It is better not to wear contact lenses for too long

Contact lenses that have been worn for too long can block the oxygen supply to the eye. "The sensitive cornea in particular reacts with so-called vascular sprouting," says Eckert, explaining the consequences. Then the blood vessels grow towards the cornea, become larger and can be seen more clearly. Once they are there, they do not regress any more. Poorly cared for contact lenses also increase the risk to the eyes. "You have to expect infections," warns Eckert.

Contact lenses: The visual aid should not be worn for too long at a time and should be cleaned or replaced regularly. How to Prevent Infection. (Source: Melpomenem / Getty Images)

Alcohol can trigger sicca syndrome

Alcohol also has a negative impact on eye health. There are studies that show a connection between sicca syndrome, i.e. dry eye, and alcohol. Alcohol can penetrate into the tear fluid and change its composition in such a way that the eye becomes dry and reacts with burning, itching, redness and tears. The eyesight is disturbed. Those who often sit at the computer should be particularly careful.

Regularly to the ophthalmologist

So that disorders and diseases of the eyes can be recognized and treated at an early stage, Eckert therefore advises that you have regular check-ups and avoid the risk factors mentioned. In addition, the following applies: As soon as symptoms such as burning, redness or pain occur, you should consult an ophthalmologist. Speed ​​is particularly important when the eyesight is impaired, for example due to points, shadows, lightning, double vision or blurred vision.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

more on the subject

  • Subjects:
  • Lifestyle,
  • Eyes,
  • Cataract,
  • Macular degeneration,
  • Glaucoma,
  • Sicca syndrome,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Diabetic,
  • Diabetes,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Pain,
  • Age,
  • Health,
  • Cornea,
  • Toxins,
  • Eyelashes,
  • Contact lenses,
  • infection