If you’re experiencing eye or vision issues it is important to understand what is happening with your eye health. Below you’ll find a list of common eye conditions and possible treatments. If any of the symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to schedule an appointment at Fort Worth Eye Center.
Amblyopia, which is also called “lazy eye”, is a disorder that affects the visual development in children. Ablyopia can be treated with the contact lenses, glasses, vision therapy, or a combination of them. Amblyopia can cause permanent abnormal vision development if it is not treated early and properly. This vision disorder affects 2-3% of the population.
Astigmatism is caused when your eye is not completely round. Because our bodies are not perfect, astigmatism occurs in nearly everybody to some degree but for some, not to the degree that it causes blurring. For vision problems due to astigmatism, glasses or contact lenses, and sometimes even vision correction surgery are all possible treatments.
Blepharitis is an eye condition characterized by an inflammation of the eyelids which causes redness, itching and irritation. The common eye condition is caused by either a skin disorder or a bacterial infection. Blepharitis is generally not contagious and can affect patients of any age. While it can be very uncomfortable, it usually does not pose any danger to your vision.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in your eye which is normally transparent. The lens, located inside the eye, behind the iris and the pupil, focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye. When your lens becomes cloudy, the images projected onto your retina become blurry and unfocused and therefore the signal to the brain is also unclear. You can compare this to looking through a dirty or cloudy window. If the window is not clear, you can’t see well.
Diabetic retinopathy involves swelling leaking or abnormal growth of blood vessels in or near the retina. There are multiple stages to this disease, the earliest of which may not present any symptoms you can see. Symptoms you can see include dark or black spots in your vision that increase over time, or severely blurred vision due to bleeding within the eye. That’s why comprehensive eye exams are so important when thinking about diabetes and eye sight—both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop some form of disease.
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic condition that develops when your eyes do not produce and maintain enough tears to keep the eye’s surface lubricated resulting in multiple symptoms that range from person to person. This can be due to a reduction in tear production or increased tear evaporation from a lack of lipid in the tears that stem from oil glands in the eyelids. The effects can range from minor dryness and discomfort to pain, blurred vision, and frequent infections.
Along with congestion, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches and difficulty breathing, individuals with allergies often suffer from eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis resulting in red, watery, itchy, and sometimes swollen eyes. Just as irritants cause an allergic response in your nasal and respiratory system, your eyes also react with an oversensitive immune response, triggered by an environmental substance that most people’s immune system ignore. Most individuals with allergies also suffer from eye allergies which affect millions of North Americans, particularly with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) which is common during the spring, summer, and fall.
Eye floaters are spots, squiggles or flecks that appear to drift into your visual field. Usually they are harmless, a benign, albeit annoying sign of aging. If however, your floaters are accompanied by a sudden loss of vision, pain or flashes, they could be a sign of an underlying serious eye condition and should be checked out by an eye doctor as soon as possible.
Farsightedness or hyperopia is a refractive error in which distant objects are clear, while close objects appear blurry. A refractive error occurs when the eye is not able to refract (or bend) the light that comes in into a single point of focus, therefore not allowing images to be seen clearly. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are the most common types of refractive error.
Glaucoma is not a single disease. It is actually a group of eye diseases that can damage to the optic nerve due to an increase in pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP). When detected in the early stages, glaucoma can often be controlled, preventing severe vision loss and blindness. However, symptoms of noticeable vision loss often only occur once the disease has progress significantly. This is why glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight”. Unfortunately, once vision is lost from the disease, it usually can’t be restored. Treatments include medication or surgery that can regulate the IOP and slow down the progression of the disease to prevent further vision loss.
Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye. The cornea is responsible for focusing the light that comes into your eye onto the retina for a clear, sharp vision. Keratoconus causes the corneal tissue to thin out and bulge into a cone-like shape which deflects the light entering the eye and distorts vision.
Macular Degeneration, which is also known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), because it is usually associated with aging, is a leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and older. The disease is characterized by a gradual loss of central vision and can occur in one eye or both eyes simultaneously.
Nearsightedness, technically known as myopia, is a condition that causes difficulty focusing on objects at a distance, while near vision remains normal. Myopia is one of the most common vision problems worldwide and it is on the rise. Due to the fact that they may be straining or squinting to see into the distance, they may develop headaches, eye fatigue, or eye strain. Long-term risks of children with high myopia are 5x the risk of early cataracts, 14x the risk of glaucoma, 22x the risk of retinal detachments, and 41x the risk of maculopathy.
The term Ocular Hypertension refers to higher than normal pressure in one or both eyes. When the intraocular pressure (IOP) in your eye is higher than normal it can cause nerve damage and vision loss if an eye disease like glaucoma goes untreated.
Photophobia refers to this ocular snsitivity to light. An eye irritation or infection may cause photophobia. Other culprits include albinsim, migraines, recent eye surgery or a variety of vision problems. In rare incidences, a congenital disease or crtain medications may increase your sensitivity to light. Treatment for photophobia involves treating the underlying cause that is disturbing the eye.
Pingueculae (pinguecula in singular) are growths that occur on the conjunctiva or the thin clear layer that covers the white part of the eye known as the sclera. They can be diagnosed on patients of any age, but tend to be more common in middle age. Pingueculae are typically yellowish in color and appear as a small, raised, sometimes triangular protrusion close to the cornea.
Pink eye and conjunctivitis is one of the most common eye infections, especially in children. The infection is an acute inflammation which causes redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, which is the clear mucous membrane that lines the eyelid and the surface of the eye. Pink eye can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or even allergies such as pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics or other products that come in contact with the eyes. Some forms of pink eye can be highly contagious and easily spread in schools and at home.
As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. Unlike a true eye disease, this condition is so common, it eventually happens to almost everyone who reaches old age to some extent. It’s called presbyopia.
Ptosis is a pathological eye condition in which the eyelid falls or droops. It is a condition that can affect adults and children (although it is most common in the elderly) and the degree to which the eyelid droops can vary from barely noticeable to completely covering the pupil (the black spot in the middle of your eye that allows light to enter). Fortunately, there is treatment for the condition.
Pytergia (pytergium in singular) are wedge-shaped growths on the surface of the cornea, made of fibrous conjunctival tissue and containing blood vessels, which sometimes make it appear pink. Pytergia often grow out of pinguecula and tend to be more visible.
A retinal detachment is a serious eye emergency in which the retina (the lining of the back of the eye) becomes separated and pulls away from the surrounding tissue. When the retina is out of place, the eye cannot properly process incoming light and if not fixed quickly, permanent vision loss can result.
A stye (known by eye doctors as a hordeolum) is an infection of an oil gland which forms a pimple-like bump on the base of the eyelid or within the eyelid itself. Styes can be uncomfortable, causing swelling, pain, redness, discomfort, and sometimes excessive tearing. If the stye is large and it distorts the front surface of the eyes, it can cause blurred vision.
Uveitis is a general term for an inflammatory response in the eye that can be caused by a broad range of diseases or conditions. It is called uveitis because the area that is inflamed is the uvea, although the condition can also affect other areas in the eye such as the lens, the optic nerve, the retina and the vitreous. Uveitis can cause swelling and tissue damage and lead to reduced vision or in more serious cases, even blindness.