Your eyes are some of the most complex organs in your body. Unfortunately, they are also extremely sensitive and are vulnerable to a number of conditions and diseases. Being able to identify the signs and symptoms of the most common eye problems empowers you to seek prompt medical attention, which leads to early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
Below are the top 11 eye problems and their signs and symptoms. If you experience any of the symptoms or believe you may have one of these conditions, be sure to consult a trusted eye doctor in your area.
COMMON REFRACTIVE ERRORS: Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are the three most common refractive errors.
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a refractive error that compromises distant-range vision This condition is often hereditary.
Hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness, compromises short-range vision. People with this condition can see objects at a distance clearly but have compromised short-range vision. This condition is often caused by an abnormally shaped the cornea.
Astigmatism is a condition characterized by blurred, fuzzy or distorted vision. It is caused by an abnormality in the shape of the cornea; when light passes through an irregularly curved cornea, it gets transferred to the retina incorrectly, which results in blurry vision. In most cases, patients diagnosed with astigmatism will also have either myopia or hyperopia. Astigmatism can affect patients of all ages. It is more common with people who have a family history of the condition or have had previous eye surgery.
This is an age-related condition that typically occurs in middle age and causes compromised short-range vision. It is caused by gradual changes in the lens of the eyes. Presbyopia cannot be cured, as the lens of the eye cannot return to its natural state. However, with current technologies, the lens can either be replaced or patients can be given prescription glasses to improve their visual acuity.
More commonly known as “lazy eye,”, amblyopia does not only result in impaired vision but the appearance of the eye itself is affected as well. Amblyopia can be caused by several different factors, including anisometropia, strabismus, visual deprivation and organic causes. Patients with amblyopia have difficulty focusing their vision; as a result, one of the eyes seems to wander. It’s as if the patient has lost the ability to control the motion of one of their eyes.
Dry Eye Syndrome
ARTIFICIAL TEARS: Dry eye treatment typically involves the use of artificial tear eye drops.
Your eyes need to be well lubricated at all times to function properly. This is why you’ll often notice tears in your eyes even when you’re not crying. Tears help lubricate the eyes to help you see clearly and to maintain your visual comfort. When a person’s tears are not sufficient to provide the necessary amount of moisture to the eyes, this is a sign ofs dry eye syndrome. This condition can be caused by several factors, such as the environment, the natural aging process, medications, diseases or conditions that prevent full closure of the eyelids.
Bacterial and viral infections can sometimes affect the eyes, resulting in redness, a burning sensation or watery eyes. This condition is referred to as conjunctivitis. Irritants, infections, sexually transmitted diseases or even allergies can cause conjunctivitis. It is possible for the condition to clear up after a few weeks even without medical intervention. However, it is best to consult an eye doctor to determine the exact cause so that the condition can be treated accordingly.
One of the most common eye problems is cataracts, a medical condition characterized by the blurring of the lens of the eyes. The condition can affect one or both eyes. Patients with cataracts experience cloudy vision that can make it difficult to perform normal day-to-day functions, such as reading or driving a car. Cataracts can be caused by many different factors, such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, previous eye surgery or old age.
Diabetes affects many different organs of the body, including the eyes. This condition causes fluids from ruptured blood vessels to enter the macula, causing vision impairment. Patients with this condition have trouble seeing during the night and also see spots or floaters. In some cases, these patients may also notice a blank spot right in the middle of their vision. Since diabetes is the primary cause of this condition, diabetes treatment and management is the best way to improve the patient’s vision and slow the progression of the disease.
Vision occurs when the light that enters the eye gets transmitted to the retina and is transferred to the brain for processing. It is the brain that interprets the light into images. This pathway from the eye to the brain is called the optic nerve. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged, typically due to a build-up of pressure in the eye. If not treated promptly, the condition can result in total loss of vision. Treatment for this condition includes laser surgery, microsurgery and the use of eye drops.
BLIND SPOT: Macular degeneration causes the appearance of blind spots and can lead to permanent loss of vision over time.
Macular degeneration also referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a condition characterized by blind spots in a patient’s vision. The condition is caused by problems with the macula, the part of the eye that enables a person to recognize faces, to drive, and to perform other tasks that require vision. Macular degeneration typically affects patients above the age of 50. The condition is mostly caused by aging, but studies suggest that genetics may also be a factor in its development.
The aging process and environmental factors can impact your visual health. However, the progression of eye problems can be slowed down by taking proper care of the eyes. Regular checkups with your ophthalmologist or licensed optometrist will ensure that your eyes are in the best possible condition at all times. Should there be a problem discovered during an eye examination, the condition can be treated before it progresses and causes severe damage to the eyes.
Dr. Justin Bazan formed Park Slope Eye in 2008. Park Slope Eye serves the greater Brooklyn, NY, area along with the Park Slope neighborhood. Park Slope Eye provides quality vision care for patients of all ages with a particular emphasis on younger patients — devoting a large part of the practice to vision care for children and infants.