- Eye Diseases Pictures Slideshow
- Pink Eye Slideshow Pictures
- Eyes and Eye Conditions Quiz
- Patient Comments: Blindness - Causes
- Patient Comments: Blindness - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Blindness - Legally Blind
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
- Blindness facts
- What is blindness?
- When is one considered legally blind?
- What are the different types of blindness?
- What causes blindness?
- What are risk factors for blindness?
- What are signs and symptoms of blindness?
- What specialists treat blindness?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose blindness?
- What are treatments for blindness?
- What is the prognosis for blindness?
- Is blindness preventable?
Quick GuideCommon Eye Problems and Infections
What specialists treat blindness?
Ophthalmology is the specialty of medicine that deals with diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of eye disease. Therefore, ophthalmologists are the specialists who have the knowledge and tools to diagnose the cause of blindness and to provide treatment, if possible.
How do health-care professionals diagnose blindness?
Blindness is diagnosed by testing each eye individually and by measuring the visual acuity and the visual field, or peripheral vision. People may have blindness in one (unilateral blindness) or both eyes (bilateral blindness). Historical information regarding the blindness can be helpful in diagnosing the cause of blindness. Poor vision that is sudden in onset differs in potential causes than blindness that is progressive or chronic. Temporary blindness differs in cause from permanent blindness. The cause of blindness is made by a thorough examination by an ophthalmologist.
What are treatments for blindness?
The treatment of visual impairment or blindness depends on the cause. In third-world nations where many people have poor vision as a result of a refractive error, merely prescribing and giving glasses will alleviate the problem. Nutritional causes of blindness can be addressed by dietary changes. There are millions of people in the world who are blind from cataracts. In these patients, cataract surgery would, in most cases, restore their sight. Inflammatory and infectious causes of blindness can be treated with medication in the form of drops or pills. Corneal transplantation may help people whose vision is absent as a result of corneal scarring.
What is the prognosis for blindness?
The prognosis for blindness is dependent on its cause. In patients with blindness due to optic-nerve damage or a completed stroke, visual acuity can usually not be restored. Patients with long-standing retinal detachment in general cannot be improved with surgical repair of their detachment. Patients who have corneal scarring or cataract usually have a good prognosis if they are able to access surgical care of their condition.