Sight Loss Conditions

There are many conditions that cause sight loss.  The most common ones are:

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration is the most common cause of registered sight loss amongst older people. AMD causes the loss of central vision, which is used for detailed work such as reading, writing, recognising faces and detecting colour.  Most people with macular degeneration retain their peripheral vision, which is the vision you use for walking about.

For more information about AMD, visit the Macular Society.

The Aberdeen Macular Society meets regularly at John Street in Aberdeen.


Glaucoma is another common cause of visual impairment.  Glaucoma develops when the pressure within the eye ball increases putting pressure onto the optic nerve which can cause sight loss.  The pressure in the eye ball increases because aqueous, fluid contained in the eye ball that is produced constantly, doesn't drain properly.  Glaucoma causes a loss of peripheral vision, the vision used to see in poor light, to see around about you and to detect movement.

Glaucoma can be managed, but if it is untreated can lead to total sight loss.

For more information about Glaucoma visit RNIB glaucoma.


Cataracts occur when due to the ageing process, the lens in your eye changes structure becoming misty or cloudy so that light can't pass through your eye.  Cataracts affect your visual acuity -  how clearly you can see.   Visual acuity is the ability to make out details and features.  Many people have their cataracts surgically removed with great success, however this does not work for everyone.

For more information about cataracts vist RNIB cataracts.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma, and can cause diabetic retinopathy.   Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in people of working age. 

For more information about Diabetic Retinopathy visit Diabetes UK.

It is really important for people who have Diabetes to get their annual eye checks.  There is treatment available to slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy if it is detected quickly enough.   

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a series of inherited conditions that affect the functioning of the cells in the retina, causing gradual loss of peripheral vision.  Symptoms of RP often start during teenage years, with vision loss gradually increasing over time.   Most people with RP retain some useful vision, although for some, RP can lead to total vision loss.

For more information about RP visit RP Fighting blindness.

Stroke and sight loss

A stroke occurs when a part of the brain becomes starved of oxygen.  This can happen either because the brain has a bleed or because a blood vessel becomes blocked.

Stroke can affect someone's vision in a number of ways, and is more likely if the stroke occurs in the right side of the brain.

Stroke can cause muscle and nerve problems causing:

  • Moving images
  • Double vision
  • Diplopia when your eyes stop working together
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Loss of field of vision including Hemianopia


Stroke can cause the loss of half of the field of vision meaning you can only see on the left or the right depending on where the stroke occured.

For more information about Stroke and vision loss go to Stroke Association site.

Other eye conditions

For information about other eye conditions not listed visit RNIB eye conditions.