Learn About Your Eyes
Common Vision Conditions (click on each topic's link for more information)
Myopia or Nearsightedness: Vision is better for near objects than distant objects. Believed to be hereditary and usually first occurs in school-aged children and continues to progress until around age 20.
Hyperopia or Farsightedness: Vision is better for distant objects than near objects. May cause focusing problems when reading, including headaches, eye strain, and fatigue.
Presbyopia: Inability to focus at near objects due to the decreased flexibility of the crystalline lens in the eye. Decreased focusing ability begins around age 40 and progresses slowly over a number of years.
Astigmatism: Blurred vision that affects both near and distant objects due to the irregular shape of the front surface of the eye (cornea) or lens causing light to be focused in multiple points.
Common Eye Conditions (click on each topic's weblink for more information)
Cataracts: A cloudy area in the normally clear lens of the eye that can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts are due to age-related changes in the lens and develop slowly in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts may cause blurred or hazy vision, reduced brightness of colors, and increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night. Treatment includes surgical removal of the cataract lens and replacement with a clear plastic implant lens (intraocular lens). Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery performed in the United States today. Approximately 90 percent of cataract surgery patients report better vision following the surgery.
Dry Eye: Common eye condition resulting from the inadequate wetting of the cornea and conjunctiva. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process, but it can also be caused by a blinking or eyelid problems, medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, a dry climate, wind and dust, or general health problems like arthritis or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms include burning, tearing, itching, soreness, sandy, gritty, tired eyes, foreign body sensation, pain, sensitivity to light and blurring of vision. Treatments include tear suppliments (drops, gels, or ointment), warm compresses and lid scrubs, prescription medications, and punctual plugs.
Glaucoma: Progressive disease that damages the optic nerve that leads to permanent vision loss. The most common type of glaucoma develops gradually and painlessly, without symptoms. Risk factors include increased age, African American race, and a family history of glaucoma. Glaucoma cannot be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early, it can be controlled. Treatment for glaucoma involves lowering the eye pressure with the use of eye drops, laser surgery, or filtering surgery.
Floaters: Debris found within the vitreous gel that fills the inside of the eye. They appear as spots, cobwebs, or threads that move across your vision as your eyes move. Floaters rarely cause vision problems but they may indicate the start of more serious complications, including retinal holes, tears, or detachment.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes causes many health problems including diabetic retinopathy, which causes damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy may cause blurred vision, blind spots, floaters, or they may produce no visual symptoms at all. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness, which is one reason why it is important to have your eyes examined regularly by your doctor of optometry. This is especially true if you are a diabetic or if you have a family history of diabetes. Early treatment is important because once damage has occurred, the effects are usually permanent. If you are a diabetic, you can help prevent diabetic retinopathy by taking your prescribed medication as instructed, sticking to your diet, exercising regularly, controlling high blood pressure and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
Macular Degeneration: Macular Degeneration results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision, and is located at the back of the eye. Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to laser procedures or injected medications if diagnosed and treated early. Some common symptoms are a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor of optometry immediately for a comprehensive examination. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, low vision devices such as telescopic and microscopic lenses can be prescribed to make the most out of remaining vision.