Eye Conditions

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The following are common eye conditions and eye diseases.  It is important to know that you could see 20/20 and have any of these conditions without knowing it – until it is too late.  This is why it is very important to have regular eye exams, and to contact us right away if you notice any change in your vision.

The American Optometric Association recommends the first comprehensive eye exam by 6 months of age – then at age 3 if there are no vision problems – and once before starting school.  Once school starts, annual eye exams are recommended throughout life.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

A very common vision condition, this is due to the eye being more curved and/or larger than average.  This results in light being focused ahead of the retina, and results in distance blur.  Near vision may be unaffected.  Glasses and/or contact lenses help remove this distance blur.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Also common, this is due to the eye being less curved and/or smaller than average.  This results in light being focused behind the retina, and results in near blur.  Distance vision may also be blurred to some degree.  Glasses and/or contact lenses help remove this near blur.

Presbyopia (Reduced Near Focusing)

Presbyopia is reduced focusing at near.  This usually starts to happen by age 40, and progresses as we get older.  Near vision can be cleared with reading glasses and/or contact lenses.  Multifocal glasses (such as no-line bifocals or progressive lenses) and/or contact lenses can provide both distance and near clarity.

Astigmatism

This condition is due to the curvature of the clear part on the front of the eye (the cornea).  The shape of the cornea is more ‘football’ shaped than ‘basketball’ shaped – one meridian is more curved than the other.  This results in blur at all distances.  Glasses and/or contact lenses help clear blurry vision due to astigmatism.

Cataracts

A cataract is a ‘clouding’ of the clear lens inside the eye.  This results in blurry vision that cannot be helped with glasses or contact lenses.  Cataracts can be removed through cataract surgery, whereby a clear artificial lens replaces the cloudy lens in the eye.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is progressive damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye.  When the pressure in the eye is high enough, optic nerve tissue is permanently lost and peripheral vision loss occurs.  Eventually all vision is lost if no treatment is given.  Eye drops and (sometimes) surgery lowers eye pressure and helps to preserve sight. Learn More…

Macular Degeneration

Also called AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration), this condition affects the central retina responsible for detailed vision.  Waste material called drusen and fluid forms under the retinal cells, damaging the central vision. There are 2 main types – Dry, and (the more serious) Wet.  Antioxidants, ultraviolet protection, and in some cases surgery or injections may help slow or stop progression of AMD.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The leading cause of blindness in the United States, this condition is due to abnormally high blood sugar.  Leakage of blood and proteins occurs on the retina, as well as abnormal blood vessel growth, resulting in swelling, distortion and scarring of retinal tissue.  Blood sugar and blood pressure control, and in some cases surgery, helps slow or halt the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Affecting women more frequently, dry eye is often due to reduced tear production or poor tear quality.  This can be due to eyelid disease, contact lens wear, computer use, environmental reasons, or body health reasons.  There are many ways to treat dry eyes, depending on the cause and the severity.

Conjunctivitis

Also called ‘red eye’, this condition may be due to many reasons – infection, inflammation, itch, or iritis (an inflammation of the colored part of the eye).  Mucous or water may accompany conjunctivitis.  Poor contact lens care can result in dangerous red eyes that may cause permanent loss of sight.  Treatment for red eyes depends on the cause and associated  findings.

Stye

The medical term for stye is hordeolum.  Styes are bacterial infections of the eyelid tissue, resulting in a visibly prominent ‘bump’ on one or more eyelids.  These may last from days to months, and over time become less inflamed and painful.  Medications and lid hygiene/warm compresses may help styes.

Retinal Detachment

A true eye emergency, retinal detachments may cause ‘flashes’ or ‘sparkles’ of light in the affected eye, as well as a sudden amount of ‘floaters’ (spots) seen in the vision.  A sudden curtain or shadow in the vision may be noted.  Prompt dilation of the eyes with eye drops followed by surgery is critical in saving sight.

Keratoconus

This is a thinning of the cornea (the clear round front structure of the eye) over time.  This results in a significant change in lens prescription and worsening vision at all distances.  Often contact lenses provide clearer vision than eyeglasses; however sometimes surgery is needed as the condition progresses.

Strabismus (Eye Turn)

This condition may or may not be easily noticed.  The eyes do not aim in the same direction, and one eye may be turned out, in, up, or down compared to the other eye.  If this is not evaluated early in life, the brain may ‘turn off’ clear vision in the turned eye.  Eyeglasses or contact lenses, as well as vision therapy and/or sometimes surgery, help to treat this condition.

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

This condition is functionally reduced vision in one or both eyes that is not completely due to eye disease.  It is usually caused by lack of proper vision correction at a young age, eye turn, or an unusually strong or uneven prescription between the eyes.  Early identification (i.e. in childhood) and treatment is indicated for amblyopia.

Should you have any questions regarding these or other eye conditions, please feel free to contact our office at 503-685-9015.