Eye Health Information
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error caused by the irregularities in the shape of a person’s cornea. In this condition, the eye fails to focus the light equally on the retina leading to blurred or distorted vision. It can be present at the time of birth, or can develop gradually in life.
Astigmatism is part of the prescription and is not an eye disease or eye health issue.
Myopia – Short-sightedness
Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface.
Short-sightedness can also be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia occursÂ due to a combination of these factors.
Myopia typically begins in childhood, and you may have a higher risk if your parents are short-sighted. In most cases, short-sightedness stabilizes in early adulthood but sometimes it continues to progress with age.
Long-sighted people sometimes have headaches or eye strain and may squint or feel fatigued when performing work at close range. If you get these symptoms while wearing your eyeglasses or contact lenses, you may need an eye exam and a new prescription.
This vision problem occurs when light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, rather than directly on it because the eyeball of a long-sighted person is shorter than normal.
Many children are born hyperopic, and some of them “outgrow” it as the eyeball lengthens with normal growth.
Sometimes people confuse hyperopia with presbyopia, which also causes near vision problems but for different reasons.
Presbyopia is the normal loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age. Most people begin to notice the effects of presbyopia sometime after age 40, when they start having trouble seeing small print clearly – including text messages on their phone.
You can’t escape presbyopia, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. Even people who are myopic will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision.
When you become presbyopic, you either have to hold your smartphone and other objects and reading material (books, magazines, menus, labels, etc.) farther from your eyes to see them more clearly.
Unfortunately, when you move things farther from your eyes they get smaller in size, so this is only a temporary and partially successful solution to presbyopia.
If you can still see close objects pretty well, presbyopia can cause headaches, eye strain and visual fatigue that makes reading and other near vision tasks less comfortable and more tiring.
Presbyopia is an age-related process. It is a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye.
These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic over time. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibres surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, it gets difficult for the eyes to focus on close objects.
Dry Eye / Blepharitis / Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Dry eye syndrome/ blepharitis and MGD are chronic and typically progressive conditions. Depending on the causes and severity, they may not be completely curable.
In most cases, symptoms can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision.
These external eye disease can have a number of causes, and a variety of treatment approaches are used.
There are many different treatments that are commonly used by optometrists to reduce any signs and symptoms. An optometrist may recommend only one of these treatments or a combination of treatments, depending on the cause(s) and severity of your condition.
Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight,” because most of its types typically cause no pain and produce no symptoms until noticeable vision loss occurs.
For this reason, glaucoma often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged.
Glaucoma is a group of related eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve that carries information from the eye to the brain.
In most cases, glaucoma is associated with higher-than-normal pressure inside the eye – a condition called ocular hypertension. But it can also occur when intraocular pressure (IOP) is normal. If untreated or uncontrolled, glaucoma first causes peripheral vision loss and eventually can lead to blindness. Your optometrist can perform a variety of tests to help aid the detection of any glaucoma related abnormalities.
Cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is also the principal cause of blindness in the world.
The lens inside the eye works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.
The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.
But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.
No one knows for sure why the eye’s lens changes as we age, forming cataracts. But researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts or are associated with cataract development including UV exposure, health conditions and certain medications.
Macular degeneration usually affects people over age 65, which is why the term age-related macular degeneration (AMD) often is used to describe the condition. However, certain drugs can cause macular degeneration, and some cases are inherited.
Experts think there are a number of reasons for the causes such as: more ultraviolet light in our environment due to a thinning ozone layer, people living longer, environmental pollutants, smoking, poor diet and obesity. Another factor may be our aging population, since the risk for macular degeneration rises with age.
Although there are no sure ways to prevent macular degeneration, you should wear eyeglasses or sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection and a brimmed hat when outdoors. You should also consider exercising, not smoking, eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.), and visiting your eye care practitioner on a regular basis for eye exams to check for AMD.
If you’re over age 65, a smoker, white or have a family member with AMD, you have an increased risk for macular degeneration.
You’re also at risk if you take these drugs: Aralen (chloroquine) or phenothiazine derivatives [Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Mellaril (thioridazine), Prolixin (fluphenazine), Trilafon (perphenazine) and Stelazine (trifluoperazine)].
Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses that block these solar rays might have a protective effect.
Exercising and quitting smoking also might reduce your risk of AMD.
Early signs of macular degeneration include: straight lines appearing wavy, fuzzy vision, night vision problems, and shadowy areas in your central vision. Your optometrist may find indicators before you have any symptoms, so regular eye exams can mean an early diagnosis.
Currently there are a number of FDA-approved medical treatments for wet AMD, including eye injections of Lucentis, Macugen and Eylea.
Based on clinical studies that have shown certain nutrients and antioxidants slow the progression of dry AMD, as a result we recommend specific nutritional supplements for people who are either at risk for macular degeneration or have early signs and symptoms of AMD.
Patients who have significant vision problems caused by macular degeneration often can benefit from low vision devices to help them read, use a computer and more.