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Just like the rest of our body, our eyes need a regular check up! Untreated eye vision issues can lead to poor performance at school and work, headaches, and even to blindness! People living with diabetes, or a family history of glaucoma and macular degeneration need special care to catch these diseases early. People who have played contact sports (like football or soccer) or diabetes also need to be examined for problems with the retina, a part of the at the back of the eyeball that has cells that are sensitive to light and that trigger nerve impulses that through the optic nerve go to the brain, where a visual image is formed. And of course, as we get older, the lens of the eye gets cloudy; cataracts need to be monitored so your eye doctor can tell you when surgery is appropriate.

Glaucoma is an eye disease where fluid builds up in your eye (aqueous humor) and creates a high pressure that damage the optic nerve, the health of which is vital for good vision. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Glaucoma can run in families and as well, people who have diabetes frequently are diagnosed with glaucoma.

Macular degeneration is another disease that can happen when you get older and is the leading cause of severe, permanent vision loss in people over age 60. The small central portion of your retina, called the macula, wears down. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of your eye.

Retinal detachment is an eye problem that happens when your retina (a light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of your eye) is pulled away from its normal position at the back of your eye. When the retina detaches or tears, there is no pain, but you may notice:

  •       Flashes of light (some people report “Lightening” in their eye)
  •       Lots of new “floaters” (small flecks or threads in your vision)
  •        Darkness or a “curtain” over your vision (may be the middle of your vision, or on the sides)

If you note any of these signs, it is important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible as you need urgent care to fix the problem so the tear or detachment can be fixed quickly.

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. As the cataract continues to build, your vision is like looking through a steamy, fogged up window. While wearing prescription glasses and better lighting may help with vision initially, eventually the cataract can interfere with vision. At that time, your eye doctor may recommend having surgery to take out the clouded lens.

Everyone should have a yearly eye exam to make sure that prescription for glasses is correct, to assess for any evidence of eye diseases, or talk to your eye doctor about things like dry, itchy, or crusty eyes. 

Suggested Topics for Faith Community Member Education

Eye of the Aging Adult: Glaucoma and so much more! Health prevention and health education points for the FCN

Eye Health Across the Lifespan – Community Resources and Advocacy for Eye Health


American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). For public and patients: Eye health A-Z.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Vision health initiative.

National Institute of Health. National Eye Institute. (n.d.). Eye conditions and diseases.

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