Your eyes are an amazing tool that sends light signals to your brain to be processed into images. What you end up seeing is a detailed picture of how your brain interprets the incoming light signals. If ever your eyes were to cease functioning, the world would become a very dark place. One of the parts of the eye that you should be particularly concerned about, especially as you approach middle age, is your retina. A lot of people experience varying degrees of visual impairment and blindness as a consequence of damage occurring to their retinas. Here are three retinal conditions you will want to watch out for as you head into middle age.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness today in people over 65-years of age. As the cells of the macula at the back of the retina deteriorate, the ability to focus the image you see with your eyes becomes more difficult. Of the two forms of macular degeneration, wet and dry, the majority of people end up getting the dry form. In the early stages of age-related macular degeneration, you may not experience any kind of noticeable vision loss. For this reason, it is important to get regular eye exams if you learn that you have significant risk factors. Caucasians are most likely to exhibit signs of age-related macular degeneration, and smoking increases the chances of getting macular degeneration by double.

Diabetic Retinopathy

When it comes to the leading cause of blindness in people under the age of 65, diabetic retinopathy is the number one contender. As the name suggests, it is a retinal condition that you get when you have diabetes. The problem emerges as a result of high sugar spikes damaging the blood vessels in the retina. Sometimes the damage results from swelling causing blood vessels to leak. At other times, the damage to the retina results in blood vessels being closed off. In certain cases, new blood vessels attempt to grow on the surface of the retina which will negatively impact your vision as well. Doing what you can to avoid diabetes and employing other forms of routine eye care will go a long way towards preventing diabetic retinopathy from stealing your vision.

A Detached Retina

The retina rests snug against the back of your eye. It acts much like film in a camera. However, your retina can become detached. This is often due to severe trauma, separation of the sclera or other reasons. If you notice floaters, flashes of light or a grey curtain-like image across your visual field, then you may need to see an eye doctor sooner than later.

If you find that you have a retinal problem manifesting during middle age, then chances are that you might be able to take measures to mitigate the retinal damage to your eyes. If severe vision loss or blindness are inevitable, then you should know that people live with these conditions all the time. Sure, living with vision loss will take some getting used to, but with the right education and personal training, a lot of blind and visually impaired people with retinal problems lead exciting, productive lives.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.