January 26, 2024

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 39 million people are blind worldwide, and atleast at least 2.2 billion people have near or distant vision impairment. At least 1 billion vision impairments could have been prevented or are yet to be addressed. While in Nigeria, over a million people are blind, and half of them live in the northeast and northwest. The significant causes of blindness in Nigeria are Glaucoma, cataracts, cornea opacity, refractive errors, presbyopia, AMD, and diabetic retinopathy.

Visual impairment can impact people of various age groups; however, most people experiencing vision loss and blindness are typically aged 50 years or older. It occurs when an eye disease affects the optical system and its vision functions. It has severe consequences for people across the life course. Many of these consequences can be mitigated by timely access to quality eye care.
Below are the top 10 eye diseases and their treatments.

1. Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in Nigeria and worldwide. It happens when the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts can form at any age but are most common in people over 50 years. Common symptoms are Blurry vision, faded colors, frequent changes in contact lens or eyeglass prescription, problems seeing at night, sensitivity to light and glare, and seeing “halos” around lights.

Treatment for Cataracts

When your prescription glasses can’t clear your vision, surgery is the only effective option to treat cataracts.

2. Glaucoma

One of the leading causes of blindness is Glaucoma, an eye disease in which increased eye pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. Glaucoma is considered a “Silent thief of sight.” because it has no signs or symptoms in its early stages.

Treatments for Glaucoma

Surgical Treatments

  • Trabeculoplasty
  • Trabeculectomy
  • MIGS – Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery
  • Glaucoma Implant Surgery

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Prescription Eye Drops

3. Retinal Detachment

Aging and eye injuries can cause small retinal tears, leading to retinal detachment. The chance of vision loss increases if you do not get timely detection and treatment. Some symptoms of retinal detachment are blurred or foggy vision, steadily receding peripheral vision, the sudden appearance of floaters, and the sudden appearance of light flashes in one or both eyes.

Treatments for Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency that needs early treatment to protect vision. Laser surgery, freezing treatment, and other types of surgical treatment are used to treat this eye disease.

  • Laser surgery (photocoagulation)
  • Freezing (cryopexy)
  • Pneumatic retinopexy
  • Scleral buckling
  • Vitrectomy

4. Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are a common eye disease that happens when the shape of the eye hinders light from focusing accurately on the back of the eye. There are three main types of refractive errors, including:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism (blurry images at multiple distances)

This leads to blurry vision, difficulty seeing objects at night, eyestrain, headaches, and squinting.
Treatments for Refractive Errors
Surgical Treatments

  • PRK
  • Visian ICL – (Implantable Collamer Lens)

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Contact lenses
  • Eyeglasses
  • Reading glasses

5. Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye’s capacity to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural part of the aging process. Usually, presbyopia becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s and worsens until age 65. Symptoms of presbyopia are blurry vision and eye strain.

Treatments for Presbyopia

Surgical Treatments

  • Custom Lens Replacement
  • Monovision LASIK

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Monovision contact lenses
  • Multifocal contact lenses
  • Reading glasses

6. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD stands as the primary cause of vision impairment in people aged 60 and above. This condition impacts the macula, the central portion of the retina, resulting in vision loss at the center of the visual field. AMD consists of two types: wet AMD and dry AMD.

Treatments for AMD

There is no cure for dry AMD; however, for wet AMD- you may need regular eye injections and a light treatment called photodynamic therapy to stop your vision from worsening.

7. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults, resulting from damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive layer located at the back of the eye. People with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should remain vigilant regarding the symptoms and consequences of diabetic retinopathy.

There are two stages of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR): In this initial stage, when symptoms are either mild or nonexistent, the blood vessels in the retina become weakened, potentially leading to fluid leakage into the retina.
  • Proliferative retinopathy (PDR): In this advanced stage of the disease, the retina experiences oxygen deprivation, prompting the growth of new vessels that can leak into the vitreous, resulting in clouded vision.

Some common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred vision, dark spots or string floaters in the vision, fluctuating vision, trouble recognizing colors, and vision loss.

Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy

Surgical Treatments

  • Scatter laser surgery (photocoagulation)
  • Vitrectomy

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Anti-VEGF injections to reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in the retina and slow leaking vessels.
  • Corticosteroids are steroid drugs injected into the eye to reduce and inhibit inflammation.

8. Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an ocular condition characterized by the cornea’s thinning and bulging or conical shaping. The irregular corneal shape leads to blurred vision and heightened sensitivity to light. Generally, Keratoconus emerges in the late teenage years and develops with time. Common signs of Keratoconus are blurred vision, poor night vision and difficulty driving at night, sudden worsening or clouding of vision, and headaches and eye pain.

Treatments for Keratoconus

In the initial stage, glasses can be used for treatment. However, as the disease advances during late childhood and early adulthood, there may be a requirement for corneal transplantation to restore vision.

9. Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus or crossed eyes is an eye disorder in which the eyes don’t simultaneously look in the same direction. Some symptoms are crossed or misaligned eyes, double vision, loss of depth perception, uncoordinated eye movements, and eyes not focusing on a particular point simultaneously. There are four types of strabismus, including:

  • Esotropia – inward turning
  • Exotropia – outward turning
  • Hypotropia – downward turning
  • Hypertropia – upward turning

Treatments for Strabismus

Surgical Treatments

  • Eye muscle surgery

Non-surgical Treatments

  • Eye exercises
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Prism lenses
  • Eye drops
  • Injected medication

10. Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

This eye problem results in poor vision in a single eye due to a misalignment between the brain and the affected eye. It stands as the most prevalent cause of vision impairment in children. Parents frequently remain unaware of a child’s amblyopia until an eye doctor makes the diagnosis. Symptoms of amblyopia include squinting, closing one eye, and tilting the head.

Treatments for Amblyopia

  • Corrective Eyewear
  • Eye patches
  • Eye drops
  • Surgery

The Bottom Line

We at Skipper Eye-Q may not treat every eye problem mentioned here, but we’re leading in using laser technology to provide treatment of retina, Glaucoma, and cataracts, changing lives for the better.

If you suspect you have vision problems, scheduling a thorough eye exam with a reputed eye hospital soon is important. You can consult our certified and experienced eye doctors for a personalized approach to address your vision concerns and explore the best possible solutions. We are a leading eye clinic in Nigeria; trust in our commitment to promoting eye health and enhancing your overall visual well-being.

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Oluremi Ashaolu

Hello everyone at skipper Eye q Skipper eye q is a place to be, they’re so kind and understanding especially the receptionist she was so helpful when I came for my son’s test and operation, God bless you all

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Great hospital my surgery was successful I have been discharged. All thanks to skipper and My lovely and beautiful Dr Okunade. I’m really happy

Joy Makanjuola

I did my surgery last year at the ilupeju branch, at first I was scared at first but after the surgery I didn’t regret it. Thank you Dr Okunade,very excellent Doctor.