Blindness Health News

Severe visual impairment and blindness are complex symptoms that can be caused by a variety of genetic disorders, injuries or health conditions that develop over time. In some cases, congenital blindness is a birth defect that leads to a child being born with visual impairment or without the ability to see at all. In other instances, diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts can rob people of their sight over time.

In the past, blindness was often viewed as a condition that people simply had to live with. But medical advances and a growing volume of research have indicated that many causes of visual impairment can be detected and corrected before they lead to total vision loss. This is true even in infants, though diagnosing and treating the problems in these populations is more difficult.

Causes of Blindness

Most of the time, blindness that's present at birth is due to some form of genetic abnormality that leads to problems such as congenital cataracts or infantile glaucoma, among others. But other forms of blindness happen gradually, often by leaving a visual problem untreated until it progresses to major visual impairment.

Cataracts, which cause a general blurring of the lens of the eye, cause more blindness throughout the world than any other condition. Glaucoma, in which fluid pressure builds up over time in the eye, is another common cause. Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, often robs central vision from adults over the age of 60. Finally, blindness is often tied to the disease diabetes. Over time, diabetes affects blood flow throughout the body, and the retina of the eye is often one victim, in this instance in the form of diabetic retinopathy.

Treatment

Many people with blindness can lead active and fulfilling lives, but they will probably need training and education in order to live better with their condition. This includes instruction in basic life skills like learning how to get around safely and communicate and read using Braille, for example.

If a person is at risk for blindness or vision impairment because of a disease, the best weapon against this is a regular eye examination. These exams can help detect problems and treat them before they progress too far down the road.

SOURCES: U.S. National Library of Medicine; Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology; National Federation of the Blind

Date Posted
Article Title
8/7/2017
Successful Guide Dogs Come From 'Tough Love' Moms

Doting doesn't help pups pass the test, study finds

8/3/2017
As World's Population Ages, Blindness Rates Likely to Grow

Study of 188 countries finds burden of impaired vision falls hardest on developing nations

7/28/2017
Vision Problems Can Harm Kids' Development, Grades

Eye experts say children should have routine exams to detect trouble early

4/19/2017
Is Annual Eye Exam a Must for People With Type 1 Diabetes?

An individual's level of risk for diabetic eye disease should guide how often they're screened, study says

4/18/2017
Zika Can Harm Babies' Vision, Too

Study of 43 South American infants found damage to retinas and optic nerves

3/23/2017
Scientists Spot Gene for Rare Disorder Causing Deafness, Blindness

Child must inherit genetic mutation from two deaf parents, researchers said

3/22/2017
Brain 'Rewires' to Work Around Early-Life Blindness

These differences appear to boost hearing, smell and touch, researchers say

11/24/2016
Consider Eye Safety When Choosing Kids' Toys

As holiday shopping season kicks off, here are tips on buying toys and sports-related items

11/3/2016
Paintball Causes Many Vision-Robbing Eye Injuries

Basketball, baseball and cycling accidents threaten eyes in other ways, study finds

8/4/2016
Blindness Biggest Fear for Many Americans

Losing vision would be as bad or worse than losing hearing, memory, speech or a limb, survey finds

7/12/2016
Mouse Study Hints at Hope Against Blindness

Combo of gene therapy, visual stimulation helped part of crushed optic nerve grow back into the brain

5/19/2016
25 Million Americans Will Struggle With Vision Problems by 2050

Aging boomers will trigger a doubling of blind or visually impaired people in next 3 decades, study predicts

5/5/2016
Mini-Camera Mounted on Glasses Helps Blind 'Read'

Device scans text, relays audio version to wearer's ear

5/4/2016
Ebola May Leave Some Survivors Blind

1 in 5 developed severe or total vision loss within weeks of recovery, Sierra Leone study found

4/12/2016
What Women Should Do to Guard Against Vision Loss

They're more likely than men to lose sight from cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases, experts say

5/22/2015
Low-Income Southerners at Highest Risk for Vision Loss

Restricted access to eye and health care likely to blame, study authors suggest

4/2/2015
Digital Compass Attached to Brain Helps Blind Rats 'See'

Findings suggest putting similar device in canes that blind people use might improve mobility

2/6/2015
FDA Approves 1st Drug for Diabetic Retinopathy

To be used in those with diabetic macular edema, injections fight leading cause of blindness

1/1/2015
Some Blind People Use Echolocation to 'See'

Soundwaves help to judge position of objects in surrounding area, study shows

12/19/2014
Study Supports Benefit of Widely Used Glaucoma Drug

Prostaglandin analogue eye drops can slow deterioration of vision that comes with the disease

4/2/2014
Scientists Explore Better Way to Deliver Treatment for Eye Disease

Patients with wet age-related macular degeneration may benefit more from IV than injection

3/25/2014
Blindness Rates Dropping Worldwide, Study Finds

But more could be done to improve vision loss, researchers say

2/4/2014
Eye Condition in Preemies Hints at Risk for Later Disabilities

Study found 'severe retinopathy of prematurity' raised risk of motor problems, mental impairment, hearing loss

1/16/2014
Gene Therapy May Restore Sight in People With Rare Blinding Disease

Early study saw improvement in six patients with choroideremia

11/13/2013
Very Early Preemies May Face Higher Risk of Future Eye Problem

Large Swedish study found more retinal detachment in those born at less than 32 weeks' gestation

8/15/2013
Eye Study Results May Offer New Therapy for Some Vision Loss

Findings shed light on how people with macular degeneration might learn to adapt more quickly

8/1/2013
Rare Eye Disease Leaves People Without an Iris

Aniridia, a genetic disorder, can cause blindness as well as metabolic illnesses, experts say

7/17/2013
Black Kids With Diabetes Less Likely to Get Eye Exams

Diabetic children at higher risk for retinopathy, which can lead to blindness, studies show

7/9/2013
Glaucoma Screening Not for Everyone: Experts

Too little evidence that test benefits adults without vision problems, panel finds

2/18/2013
Best Glaucoma Treatments Still a Puzzle, Task Force Reports

Experts not able to make recommendations on drug, surgery or laser choices

12/13/2012
U.S. Glaucoma Cases Jump 22 Percent Over Decade: Report

More than 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and older are affected by this eye disease, experts warn

11/23/2012
Device May Allow Blind to Read Braille Without Touch: Report

Company has developed eye implant technology to help sightless detect color, movement and objects

8/12/2012
Safety Eyewear Can Prevent Sports Injuries in Kids

Back-to-school season can mean more eye injuries, expert warns

7/30/2012
Scientists ID New Gene Linked to Vision Loss in Infants

18 genes now associated with Leber congenital amaurosis, a rare inherited retinal disease

7/25/2012
Experimental Chemical Helps Blind Mice See

Researchers say compound might one day benefit people who've lost their vision

5/24/2012
Some Heavy Kids at Risk of Blindness, Study Says

Brain condition that can steal sight more common among overweight girls, researchers report

5/14/2012
In Rat Study, Eye Device Shows Promise for Restoring Sight

System uses combination of implanted cells and technology to send images to the brain

4/3/2012
Antibiotics Linked to Retinal Detachment Risk

The risk is very small and the reasons aren't known, researchers say

2/8/2012
More Success With Gene Therapy for Blindness

Repeat treatment improves vision for three adults with rare eye disease

1/5/2012
Could Daily Aspirin Harm Seniors' Eyes?

Study found possible association between drug and age-related macular degeneration

12/29/2011
Risk Factors for Vision Loss After Spine Surgery Identified

Rare complication occurs in as many as one out of every 1,000 spine surgeries, researchers say

6/13/2011
Spending on Glaucoma Meds Rising in U.S., Study Finds

Certain groups of patients, including those on public health insurance, seem to be most affected

6/9/2011
Tainted Soil May Put Kids at Risk for Vision Loss

Parasitic disease affects those who ingest dirt containing microscopic eggs, researchers warn

5/26/2011
Blind People May Be Able to Use Echoes to Identify Objects

Echolocation uses 'visual' part of brain to process sound, navigate surroundings, study finds

4/12/2011
What Happens When Kids Born Blind Gain Sight?

Brain doesn't make connection between seeing and touching right away, small study finds

1/13/2011
Bottle Rockets Can Cause Serious Eye Injuries in Kids

Protective eyewear urged, even for bystanders, whenever these fireworks are used

12/31/2010
Beware the Exploding Champagne Cork

Expert gives safety tips; warns it can reach a speed of 50 mph and cause severe eye damage

12/7/2010
Teens' Poor Health Linked to Fewer Friends

It's unknown which comes first, but sick kids less likely to have big social network at school, study finds

10/27/2010
Sense of Touch 'Faster' in Those Blind From Birth

Heightened tactile processing may account for 'remarkable speed' of some Braille readers

10/20/2010
People With Anorexia May Risk Serious Eye Damage

It's unclear whether macular damage will progress to blindness, researchers say