Unfortunately the nice folks at Smith Mountain Lake are not immune to disease any more than people anywhere. Arguably, one of the worst diseases or illnesses anyone could get would be one that affected their eyesight.
I learned recently that diabetic eye diseases (such as diabetic retinopathy) are the most common cause of blindness in the US. However, the risk can be significantly reduced by early blood glucose control and treatment of vascular risk factors. Ophthalmologic screening visits in diabetics even without visual symptoms are necessary to ensure early treatment. Once visual function is impaired, it is often irreversible. This makes early detection essential.
The second leading cause of blindness is glaucoma – which also can be slowed or treated to prevent further vision loss, with early detection. (Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Experts estimate that half of the people affected by glaucoma may not know they have it. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.)
Third and last, after age 50, blindness is primarily caused by age-related macular degeneration, a progressive disease of the retina wherein the light-sensing cells in the central area of vision (the macula) stop working and eventually die.
As you can see, routine eye exams are extremely important if you value your eye sight. We have several good Optometrists at the lake. If you have not had an eye exam in the last year, call and make an appointment to have one. Your vision is precious, don’t lose it when simple check-ups can keep you informed in time to make a difference.