Some of the Eye Conditions and Diseases that we see at Spectrum Eye Care are listed below. Of course, this list is not all inclusive, but is designed to give some basic information for your review. During our examinations, we always give thorough explainations of any eye conditions you may have or that you may be concerned about.
- Visual Acuity: What is 20/20 Vision?
- Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
- Spots and Floaters
- Color Deficiency
- Eye Coordination
Visual Acuity: What is 20/20 Vision? [Top]
20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet.
20/20 does not necessarily mean perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. There are other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision that contribute to your overall visual ability.
In most cases, your optometrist can prescribe glasses, contact lenses or a vision therapy program that will help improve your vision. If the reduced vision is due to an eye disease, the use of ocular medication or other treatment may be used.
Mypoia (Nearsightedness) [Top]
Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus. Nearsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, so the light entering your eye is not focused correctly.
Hyperopia (Farsightedness) [Top]
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.
Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects.
Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.
Astigmatism is a vision condition that occurs when the front surface of your eye, the cornea, is slightly irregular in shape. This irregular shape prevents light from focusing properly on the back of your eye, the retina. As a result, your vision may be blurred at all distances.
People with severe astigmatism will usually have blurred or distorted vision, while those with mild astigmatism may experience headaches, eye strain, fatigue or blurred vision at certain distances.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) [Top]
Lazy eye, or amblyopia, is the loss or lack of development of central vision in one eye that is unrelated to any eye health problem and is not correctable with lenses. It can result from a failure to use both eyes together. Lazy eye is often associated with crossed-eyes or a large difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. It usually develops before the age of 6, and it does not affect side vision.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes) [Top]
Strabismus occurs when one or both of your eyes turns in, out, up or down, and is usually caused by poor eye muscle control. This misalignment often first appears before age 21 months but may develop as late as age 6. This is one reason why the American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive optometric examination before 6months and again at age 3.
There is a common misconception that a child will outgrow strabismus. This is not true. In fact, the condition may get worse without treatment.
Spots and Floaters [Top]
Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Because they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly.
Color Deficiency [Top]
Color vision deficiency means that your ability to distinguish some colors and shades is less than normal. It occurs when the color-sensitive cone cells in your eyes do not properly pick up or send the proper color signals to your brain. About eight percent of men and one percent of women are color deficient.
Eye Coordination [Top]
Eye coordination is the ability of both eyes to work together as a team. Each of your eyes sees a slightly different image and your brain, by a process called fusion, blends these two images into one three-dimensional picture. Good eye coordination keeps the eyes in proper alignment. Eye coordination is a skill that must be developed. Poor eye coordination results from a lack of adequate vision development or improperly developed eye muscle control. Although rare, an injury or disease can cause poor eye coordination.
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the internal pressure in your eyes increases enough to damage the nerve fibers in your optic nerve and cause vision loss. The increase in pressure happens when the passages that normally allow fluid in your eyes to drain become clogged or blocked. The reasons that the passages become blocked are not known.
Diabetic Retinopathy [Top]
Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body's ability to use and store sugar and can cause many health problems. One, called diabetic retinopathy, can weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish your eye's retina, the delicate, light sensitive lining of the back of the eye. These blood vessels may begin to leak, swell or develop brush-like branches.
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy may cause blurred vision, or they may produce no visual symptoms at all. As the disease progresses, you may notice a cloudiness of vision, blind spots or floaters.
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.
Macular Degeneration [Top]
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in America. It 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, if diagnosed and treated early.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are found in persons over age 55, but they are also occasionally found in younger people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.
Dry Eye [Top]
The tears your eyes produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Dry eye means that your eyes do not produce enough tears or that you produce tears that do not have the proper chemical composition. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. It can also be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, a dry climate, wind and dust, general health problems like arthritis or Sjogren's syndrome and chemical or thermal burns to your eyes.
Anterior Uveitis [Top]
Anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, which includes the iris (colored part of the eye) and adjacent tissue, known as the ciliary body. If untreated, it can cause permanent damage and loss of vision from the development of glaucoma, cataract or retinal edema. It usually responds well to treatment; however, there may be a tendency for the condition to recur. Treatment usually includes prescription eye drops, which dilate the pupils, in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs. Treatment usually takes several days, or up to several weeks, in some cases.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer that lines the inner eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.
The three main types of conjunctivitis are infectious, allergic and chemical. The infectious type, commonly called "pink eye," is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria. Your body's allergies to pollen, cosmetics, animals or fabrics often bring on allergic conjunctivitis. And, irritants like air pollution, noxious fumes and chlorine in swimming pools may produce the chemical form.
Common symptoms of conjunctivitis are red watery eyes, inflamed inner eyelids, blurred vision, a scratchy feeling in the eyes and, sometimes, a puslike or watery discharge. Conjunctivitis can sometimes develop into something that can harm vision so you should see your optometrist promptly for diagnosis and treatment.
Keratoconus is a vision disorder that occurs when the normally round cornea (the front part of the eye) becomes thin and irregular (cone) shaped. This abnormal shape prevents the light entering the eye from being focused correctly on the retina and causes distortion of vision.
In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. These symptoms usually appear in the late teens or late 20s. Keratoconus may progress for 10-20 years and then slow in its progression.
Retinitis Pigmentosa [Top]
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited diseases that damage the light-sensitive rods and cones located in the retina, the back part of our eyes. Rods, which provide side (peripheral) and night vision are affected more than the cones that provide color and clear central vision.
Signs of RP usually appear during childhood or adolescence. The first sign is often night blindness followed by a slow loss of side vision. Over the years, the disease will cause further loss of side vision. As the disease develops, people with RP may often bump into chairs and other objects as side vision worsens and they only see in one direction – straight ahead. They see as if they are in a tunnel (thus the term tunnel vision).