Myopia, or nearsightedness, results in difficulty seeing objects at distance clearly (road signs, classroom board), while objects up close are much easier to see.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the opposite, where objects up close (books, computer) are more difficult to distinguish. Squinting, eye strain or fatigue can
occur when trying to focus at these particular distances. Astigmatism causes objects to appear distorted or blurry to a certain degree at all distances. All of
these refractive conditions usually result from a misshaping of one or more components of the eye. In turn, light rays do not focus properly on the retina causing
Presbyopia is a separate condition and an age related process that usually begins to manifest around the age of 40. This occurs when the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes stiff or inflexible, which prevents the eye from focusing on objects at near making near reading tasks such as seeing menus, phones, and computers difficult. Arms aren't long enough? People often have to push their reading material away for them to see.
Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery can usually correct these types of vision problems. Your eye doctor can discuss which options are best suited for your daily lifestyle so you can optimize comfort and clarity.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Although there are many different types of Glaucoma, it usually results from high pressure inside the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the main cable that transmits all signals from the eye to the brain which processes images for sight. Though it can affect anyone, those with increased risk for developing Glaucoma include African Americans and Hispanics over age 40, everyone over age 60, and those with a family history of Glaucoma. Regular, comprehensive eye exams are important because this condition has no early symptoms and can cause progressive vision loss over time if left untreated. With early detection and treatment, which usually only requires medicated eye drops, vision can be saved.
A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. Depending upon its level of opacity, it can interfere with normal vision. As light rays entering the eye become blocked or scattered, vision can appear blurry or cloudy, similar to looking out of a dirty window. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts also usually develop slowly over time from age related changes and UV light absorption, but other factors can contribute to their development, including: Diabetes, Steroid medication use, Smoking, Alcohol consumption. If the cataract changes are minimal, no treatment may be necessary and your eye doctor may prescribe lenses to optimize your vision potential. However, if it severely disrupts your vision and daily function, surgery to remove the cataract may be recommended.
Tears are essential to good eye health and consist of 3 main components: The outer lipid oil layer, the middle aqueous layer, and the inner mucin layer. A deficiency in any one of these layers can cause dry eye. Common symptoms of dry eye include burning, stinging, redness, and a foreign body sensation. Ironically, tearing can be another sign, which is a reflex action to the eye's dry surface. It can be a mild nuisance, but many people don't realize that it can affect vision as well. At more moderate to severe levels, the cornea, the clear front covering of the eye, can become compromised when the tear layer no longer protects it. Dry eye can result from a multitude of factors - environmental conditions, reduced blink rate, natural aging, hormonal changes, contact lens abuse, post-refractive surgery, medications (antihistamines, anti-depressants) and autoimmune disease can all cause dry eye. Your doctor can help identify the causes and suggest a proper treatment plan if dry eyes affect you.