What is Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. In fact, cataract means waterfall and that is how the condition got its name people felt like they were looking thru a waterfall.
Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car, especially at night, or see the expression on a friend’s face.
Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. With time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision but it is easy to correct with a simple procedure. At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with the changes cataracts cause. If impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery.
Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is not just one eye disease, but a group of eye conditions resulting in optic nerve damage, which causes loss of vision. Abnormally high pressure inside your eye (intraocular pressure) usually, but not always, causes this damage.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Sometimes called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage. The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, often has no noticeable signs or symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and limit glaucoma-related vision loss. It’s important to get your eyes examined regularly and make sure your eye doctor measures your intraocular pressure.
What is Farsightedness?
Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects more clearly, then near objects.
The degree of your farsightedness determines your focusing ability. People with severe farsightedness may see near objects less clearly than distant objects, while those with mild farsightedness may be able to clearly see objects that are closer.
Farsightedness can also contribute to a misalignment of the eyes because when the visual system tries to compensate for the condition it may affect the way the eye muscles work. Farsightedness usually is present at birth and tends to run in families. You can easily correct this condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
What is Nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see objects near to you more clearly, than objects far away. The degree of your nearsightedness determines your ability to focus on distant objects. People with severe nearsightedness can see clearly only objects just a few inches away, while those with mild nearsightedness may clearly see objects several yards away.
Nearsightedness may develop gradually or rapidly, often worsening during childhood and adolescence. Nearsightedness tends to run in families. A comprehensive eye exam can confirm nearsightedness. You can easily correct the condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
What is Strabismus?
Strabismus (also called crossed eyes) is a condition where both of your eyes do not look toward the same object together. There are six different muscles that surround the eyes and work together so that both eyes can focus on the same object. For someone with strabismus, these muscles do not work together. As a result, one eye looks at one object, while the other eye turns in a different direction and is focused on another object. When this happens, two different images, one from each eye, are sent to the brain. This confuses the brain, and the brain may learn to ignore the image from the weaker eye. Strabismus is a common condition among children but it can also occur later in life.
What are the symptoms of strabismus?
The main sign of strabismus is an eye that is not directed straight. Sometimes a child or young person will squint with one eye in bright sunlight. Symptoms of faulty depth perception may also be noticed. Adults with strabismus will usually have double vision.
How is strabismus diagnosed?
Strabismus is usually diagnosed with a physical examination that includes a detailed examination of the eyes. Tests are done to determine how much the eyes are out of alignment. These eye tests may include corneal light reflex, cover/uncover test, retinal exam, standard ophthalmic exam, and visual acuity.
What is the treatment for strabismus?
Treatment of strabismus may consist of eyeglasses, patching, eye coordination exercises (called orthoptics) and/or surgery on the eye muscles. Eyeglasses, with or without patching, are often the treatment tried first and can usually reduce the amount of deviation.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition that causes blurred near vision. It typically starts at around age 40 and affects everyone, even those who’ve never had vision problems before.
When presbyopia begins, people will squint or hold reading materials at arm’s length to help their eyes focus. Eye strain, headache, and fatigue are common symptoms of presbyopia.
Most experts believe presbyopia is caused by changes to the lens inside the eye. As people age, the lens becomes harder and less elastic, making it more difficult for the eye to focus on close objects. For centuries presbyopia was corrected with the use of bifocal eyeglasses. Presbyopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.
Bifocal contact lenses are now available in many soft and gas permeable lens designs. Similar to bifocal eyeglasses, bifocal contacts have two prescriptive powers for distance and near vision. Multifocal contact lenses are also available with additional variations in power to correct near, intermediate, and far vision. Monovision is another contact lens option for correcting presbyopia, where one eye wears a near vision lens and the other eye wears a distance vision lens. Your eyes automatically focus properly depending on the visual situation. Contact lens wearers can also use a distance lens in both eyes and then wear reading glasses for close-up work.
The gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus actively on nearby objects is a not-so-subtle reminder that you’ve reached middle age. A natural, often annoying part of aging, presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65.
You may become aware of presbyopia when you start holding books and newspapers at arm’s length to be able to read them. If you’re nearsighted, you might temporarily manage presbyopia by reading without your glasses. A basic eye exam can confirm presbyopia. You can correct the condition with prescription eyeglasses.
What is Diabetic Eye Care?
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be at risk of losing your vision since your body does not utilize sugar properly and, when the sugar levels rise, damage to the retinal blood vessels may occur. This injury to the retinal vessels is known as Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults.
What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?
Often, one may not be aware of any symptoms even when significant diabetic retinopathy is present. When macular edema occurs, vision often becomes blurry and may fluctuate. If abnormal new blood vessels form, as in proliferative diabetic retinopathy, they may bleed and result in small specks or large floaters obscuring the vision. If a large hemorrhage occurs, vision often becomes very blurry.
How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?
A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or retina specialist is the only reliable means of detecting diabetic retinopathy. After the pupil is dilated, a device called an ophthalmoscope is used to view the retina and determine the extent of the retinopathy. If diabetic retinopathy is discovered, a fluorescein dye test and/or optical coherence tomogram (OCT) may be recommended. A fluorescein angiogram involves the injection of a dye into a vein in the arm followed by several minutes of intermittent photos with a special digital camera focused on the retina. An OCT is a non-invasive photo that creates a detailed cross-sectional image of the macula.
What is the treatment for diabetic retinopathy?
The best therapy for diabetic retinopathy is prevention. Studies show that strict control of blood sugar levels can significantly lower the risk of vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. High blood pressure and kidney problems should also be treated to minimize their effect on the retinopathy. Laser surgery is often the first line of treatment if macular edema or proliferative retinopathy is present. For macular edema, the laser is focused on leaky areas of the retina to aid in reabsorbing the excess fluid. The primary goal of this treatment is to prevent further vision loss. It is uncommon for people to recover significant vision following treatment but some do experience partial restoration. Laser surgery is not a cure for diabetic retinopathy and is not guaranteed to prevent further loss of vision. Other treatments for diabetic retinopathy include medications like steroids or a novel class of medication called anti-VEGF.
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