Causes of Sight Loss

Common Causes of Sight Loss in Adults:

  • Glaucoma
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Eye injuries



is an eye condition that can occur at any age, but is more common in older people. It usually, but not always, results from too much pressure from fluid in the eye, which causes damage to the optic nerve (which sends messages from your eye to your brain). This causes loss of peripheral (or side) vision, sometimes described as tunnel vision There is no cure for glaucoma, but glaucoma can be controlled with appropriate treatment (usually in the form of medicated eye drops, or sometimes surgery).
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Example of Glaucoma.

Macular Degeneration

occurs when the centre of the retina is damaged. The macular is the part of the eye that is used to see fine details and colour. When the macular deteriorates, the centre of the vision blurs, or darkens. Tasks such as reading small print, recognizing small objects like faces and driving become difficult. Straight lines may appear wavy or bent.

There are two forms of Macular Degeneration; wet and dry. The wet form occurs when fragile blood vessels under the macular leak fluid. An early sign of wet macular degeneration is that straight lines start to appear wavy. Any sudden change in vision requires urgent consultation, as early treatment may reduce vision loss.

The dry form is a slower progression of deterioration of the light-sensitive cells in the macula.
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Example of Macular Degeneration


is the clouding of the lens in the eye due to a change in the protein in the lens. This causes the vision to be cloudy giving everything a “washed out” or yellow appearance. Cataracts are frequently removed by surgery, though this may not always be possible.

Diabetic Retinopathy

is the name given to the changes that can occur in the retina (the light sensitive part of the eye) in people who have diabetes. Diabetes causes changes in the cells of the retina that result in weakness in the walls of the blood vessels, so that they begin to bulge and leak fluid, blood or fats into the eye. The resulting scarring can cause patchy blurring or loss of vision.

An Example of Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinitis Pigmentosa

(commonly known as R.P.) is a gradual breakdown of the cells in the retina, which mainly affects night vision and peripheral vision. R.P. often runs in families. It is not a result of injury, infection or doing too much reading. The usual age of onset is between 10 and 30 years of age.
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