How Is Blindness Diagnosed?

A thorough eye exam by an optometrist will help to determine the cause of your blindness or partial loss of vision. Your eye doctor will administer a series of tests that measure the clarity of your vision, the function of your eye muscles, and how your pupils react to light. They’ll examine the general health of your eyes using a slit lamp, which is a low-power microscope paired with a high-intensity light.

Diagnosing Blindness in Infants

A pediatrician will screen your baby for eye problems shortly after birth. At 6 months of age, you should have an eye doctor or pediatrician check your child again for visual acuity, focus, and eye alignment. The doctor will look at your baby’s eye structures and see whether they can follow a light or colorful object with their eyes. Your child should be able to pay attention to visual stimuli by 6 to 8 weeks of age. If your child doesn’t react to light shining in their eyes or focus on colorful objects by 2 to 3 months of age, have their eyes examined right away. You should have their eyes examined if you notice crossed eyes or any other symptoms of impaired vision.
 

How Is Blindness Treated?

In some cases of vision impairment, one or more of the following may help to restore your vision:
  • eyeglasses
  • contact lenses
  • surgery
  • medication
If you experience partial blindness that can’t be corrected, your doctor will provide guidance on how to function with limited vision. For example, you can use a magnifying glass to read, increase the text size on your computer, and use audio clocks and audiobooks. Complete blindness requires approaching life in a new way and learning new skills. For example, you may need to learn how to:
  • read Braille
  • use a guide dog
  • memorize the keypad on your phone
  • organize your home so you can find things easily
  • fold money in distinct ways to distinguish bill amounts
You may also need to have handrails installed in your bathroom.

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

The long-term outlook for restoring vision and slowing vision loss is better when treatment is preventive and sought immediately. Cataracts can be treated effectively with surgery and don’t necessarily result in blindness. Early diagnosis and treatment are also important in cases of glaucoma and macular degeneration to help slow down or stop your vision loss.

How Can Blindness Be Prevented?

To detect eye diseases and help prevent vision loss, get regular eye examinations. If you’re diagnosed with certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, treatment with medication can help prevent blindness. Have your child’s eyes examined at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, and every two years between the ages of 6 and 18 years old to help prevent vision loss. If you notice symptoms of vision loss between routine visits, make an appointment with their eye doctor immediately.