Common Eye Conditions

 

Astigmatism

An optical condition where the cornea’s curvature is asymmetrical (the eye is shaped like a football or egg, rather than round like a baseball); consequently, light is focused at two points on the retina instead of one, resulting in blurred vision.  Patients often complain of ghosting, doubling or shadowing of letters.

 

Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding that develops in the natural lens of the eye caused by aging, exposure to the sun’s UV rays, smoking, steroid intake and diabetes.  Symptoms include blurred vision, glare, halos (especially around lights) and cloudy vision.   For additional illustration, see Eyemaginations. (Link)

 

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, characterized by a pink eye.  The cause is either infectious or allergic, though the term “pink eye” is commonly used for any type of conjunctivitis.  Symptoms include burning, tearing, discharge, foreign body sensation, light sensitivity, dryness, and itching.

 

Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is characterized by chronic ocular dryness due to reduced quality or quantity of tears, or due to increased evaporation of tears.  Dry eye syndrome is caused by aging, certain systemic diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, sarcoidosis, etc.), medications, eyelid deformity or scarring, or long-term contact lens wear.  Symptoms include foreign body sensation, itching, burning, grittiness, light sensitivity, excess tearing, discomfort, intermittent blurring and red eye.  For additional information, see Eyemaginations. (Link)

 

Floaters

Floaters are described as a dark spot or speck that passes across your field of vision, and moves as you move your eye.  Floaters are very common and may look like clouds, strands, webs, spots, squiggles or wavy lines.  As your eye ages, the vitreous gel begins to liquify, causing floaters to develop in the middle of the vitreous.  A “shower of floaters” is a sign of a serious condition and requires prompt attention from your eye physician.

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is generally defined by elevated intraocular pressure combined with optic nerve damage and peripheral vision loss.  Most patients have no initial symptoms in open angle glaucoma, but closed angle (angle closure glaucoma) glaucoma is generally heralded with eye pain, headache, blurred vision, red eye, lack of pupil reactivity and sometimes nausea.  Angle closure glaucoma is an ocular emergency requiring immediate treatment.  For more information, see Eyemaginations. (Link)

 

Hyperopia

Often referred to as farsightedness, hyperopia is an optical condition in which the length of the eye is too short, causing light rays to focus behind the retina, rather than on it.  Symptoms include eye strain, headaches, squinting, reading fatigue or reading avoidance.

 

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a disease that causes progressive damage to the macula, which is the central part of the retina that allows us to see fine details.  As patients develop ARMD, they experience blurring or darkness in the center of their vision, causing difficult reading , driving or facial recognition.  Symptoms include blurred vision, distortion of straight lines and poor dark adaptation, especially when patients enter indoors from the bright outdoors.  Two types of ARMD exist, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.

 

Myopia

Often called nearsightedness, myopia is an optical condition which is caused by an eye that is too long causing light rays to focus in front of the retina rather than on it, resulting in blurred distance vision.  Symptoms include blurred distance vision, squinting, eye strain and poor night vision.

 

Presbyopia

The ability to focus our eyes at near distances generally decreases with advancing age.  When a person is unable to focus on near objects because of insufficient focusing power, they are said to have presbyopia.  Generally occurring around age 40, presbyopia continues to progress until we have reached age 55, then stabilizes.  Symptoms include eyestrain with near demands, latency in focusing from far-to-near and from near-to-far, and blurred distance vision after prolonged periods of near work. 

  

 

 

 

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