Dr. Mark Hornfeld on How Poor Health Can Lead to Poor Vision (part 1 of 2)
Recently, news organizations across the United States have reported a growing incidence of debilitating eye diseases. Ophthalmologist Mark Hornfeld answers questions about the reports.
Question: Which eye diseases are on the rise?
Dr. Mark Hornfeld: We’ve seen the biggest increase in eye diseases associated with aging or diabetes. For example, instances of diabetic retinopathy have increased by 89% over the last 12 years. This is a disease in which the blood vessels in the retina become severely damaged, affecting vision. In diabetics, retinopathy is often linked to uncontrolled high blood sugar. There have also been major increases in macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. These diseases are very serious and can cause blindness if left untreated.
Question: Do doctors know what causes these diseases?
Dr. Mark Hornfeld: Some of the increase is due to our aging population. We’re also seeing a large increase in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and obesity. These conditions take a toll on the whole body, not just on the eyes. In the second part of this article, I’ll explain how people can prevent these diseases and how they can be treated.