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February 28th: Rare Disease Day in Annapolis & Kent Island

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Rare Disease Day may be one of February’s lesser-known holidays, but it is equally important to educate yourself about rare diseases on February 28th and throughout the year! While you’re probably familiar with some rare eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, but there are several other common diseases that can affect your eyes and vision. Read below to learn bout these diseases, their symptoms, and their treatment.

1. Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: This occurs when increased pressure around the brain leads to vision changes. It develops when the cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the skull and puts pressure on the optic nerve. Symptoms include double vision, blind spot, temporary blindness, side vision loss and headaches. While the causes are unknown, treatments may include weight loss, medication, to even surgery.

2. Behcet’s Disease: This involves a condition that damages the blood vessels in different parts of the body, and in some cases, the vessels in the eyes can be damaged. Symptoms include redness, eye pain, and blurry vision. This disease occurs when inflammation in the blood vessels from an abnormal immune system response, although doctors aren’t sure of the cause. Treatments aim to decrease inflammation and typically include steroids and medications.

3. Retinoblastoma: This is an uncommon type of cancer that affects the retina. According to the American Cancer Society, it is most common in children under two. Symptoms typically include eye pain, swelling, watery eyes, poor vision, or an eye that drifts in a different direction. Treatment involves surgery to remove the tumor, and may also include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and laser therapy.

4. Retinitis Pigmentosa: This disease occurs when a group of uncommon eye diseases affects the retina. The diseases cause the retina to break down gradually, eventually leading to vision loss. Symptoms include loss of side vision, problems with color vision, and loss of central vision. It appears to be a genetic condition that people are born with symptoms starting in childhood. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there is no current cure for retinitis pigmentosa.

If you have any questions about rare eye diseases or any eye conditions, we’re here to help! February is a great time to schedule your next eye exam. Click here to contact the Island Eyecare team today!

Written by Island Eyecare

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