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Millions of people are threatened with blindness – you should know these symptoms

Created: 10/13/2022 10:22 am

Some eye diseases can be dangerous – in the worst case, there is a risk of blindness. If you have these symptoms, you should be alert.

Frankfurt – They are among the most common eye diseases: glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration. Around ten million people in Germany alone are affected by one of these eye diseases, according to figures from the Gutenberg health study by the University Medical Center Mainz. If these diseases are discovered too late or not treated, it can even lead to loss of vision. Millions of people could therefore be at risk of going blind.

And the number of people suffering from eye diseases is increasing. In order to preserve the eyesight of those affected as far as possible, an early diagnosis is important. But all too often, suffering goes unrecognized for a long time. You should therefore pay attention to certain symptoms.

eye disease Number of affected people in Germany
macular degeneration around 7.5 million affected
Glaucoma (Glaucoma) around 919,000 people affected
Diabetic retinopathy around 1.3 million affected
cataract (cataract) No precise data is recorded, but according to estimates by the German Ophthalmological Society, around 800,000 procedures are carried out in Germany every year

There is a risk of blindness: glaucoma (glaucoma) is often associated with increased eye pressure

Numerous factors play a role in eye diseases. In addition to age and predisposition, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or chronic inflammation also contribute to their development.

Eine Frau verdeckt ihre Augen mit ihrer Hand.
Millions of people in Germany suffer from eye diseases. If this is not treated early, it can even lead to blindness. (Iconic image) © Imago/Arman Zhenikeyev

All eye diseases that are characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve are summarized under glaucoma (green star). This can often be associated with increased eye pressure and, according to the MSD Manual, can lead to irreversible loss of vision. The following symptoms can occur:

  • development of blind spots
  • patchy loss of vision
  • severe eye pain
  • headache
  • redness
  • blurred vision
  • rainbow-colored halos around light sources
  • sudden loss of vision

Eye diseases: Those affected should pay attention to symptoms, otherwise blindness can occur

According to the MSD Manual, a cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can cause progressive, painless loss of vision. You should look out for these symptoms:

  • Halos and asterisks appear around lights
  • problems reading
  • Problems distinguishing between light and dark contrasts
  • Need for brighter light to see well
  • Problems distinguishing between dark blue and black
  • blurred vision
  • Colors appear yellowish and less bright

Blindness from eye diseases: Symptoms are often rare or appear late

Around seven and a half million people in Germany suffer from macular degeneration. The macula, the most important visual area in the center of the retina, progressively recedes. This can lead to a gradual loss of central vision, according to the MSD Manual. Symptoms are often rare or appear late. Those affected complain, for example, about the appearance of blind spots. Objects may also appear blurred or small details may be lost.

Diabetic retinopathy is also damage to the retina, it often occurs as a result of diabetes. Blood and fluid can leak from the blood vessels in the retina. According to the MSD Manual, areas of the retina can swell. The effect on vision may be minimal at first, but later vision impairment may be more severe. (hg)

New therapies for eye diseases: Researchers are even talking about a milestone in the therapy of neurodegenerative diseases of the retina.

Editor’s note

The information given in this article does not replace a visit to a doctor. Only experts can make the right diagnosis and initiate appropriate therapy.

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