There are many different types of vision problems that could be affecting your eyesight. But, for the purposes of this guide, we will be focusing on four of the most common causes of impaired vision. These, along with many other vision impairments, are treated with care and precision by the eye care providers at Eyeland.
Astigmatism is an uneven or irregular curvature of the cornea or lens, which results in blurred or distorted vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism include the need to squint, eye strain from squinting, headaches, and eye fatigue. In reality, most people have some degree of astigmatism, which is usually present at birth and is believed to be hereditary. In minor cases, treatment may not be required but is certainly beneficial. Moderate to severe astigmatism can be treated with corrective eyewear or LASIK surgery.
Farsightedness, medically known as hyperopia, refers to vision that is good at a distance but not at close range. Farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is shorter than normal, as measured from front to back, or when the cornea has too little curvature. This reduces the distance between the cornea and retina, causing light to converge behind the retina, rather than on it. If you are mildly farsighted, your eye care provider may not recommend corrective treatment at all. However, if you are moderately or severely hyperopic, you may have several treatment options available, including eyeglasses, contacts, LASIK, and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
Nearsightedness, medically known as myopia, refers to vision that is good at close range but not at a distance. It generally occurs because the eyeball is too “long” as measured from front to back. Nearsightedness is diagnosed during routine eye exams and possible treatments include eyeglasses, contacts, acrylic corneal implants, LASIK, radial keratotomy (RK), and photorefractive keratotomy (PRK).
Presbyopia (Aging Eyes)
Aging eyes, medically known as presbyopia, is a condition in which the lens of the eye gradually loses its flexibility, making it harder to focus clearly on close objects such as printed words. Distance vision, on the other hand, is usually not affected. Unfortunately, presbyopia is an inevitable part of aging and cannot be prevented by diet, lifestyle or visual habits. However, it is treatable with several types of corrective lenses, including progressives, bifocals and trifocals, single-vision reading glasses, multifocal contact lenses, and monovision therapy.
“Eye diseases” are a blanket term that refers to a host of diseases relating to the function of the eye. Below we describe some of the more common types of eye diseases and how they are generally treated. For more in-depth information, please speak with our knowledgeable staff at Eyeland.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids. Caused by bacteria, viruses, allergens, and other irritants like smoke and dust, pink eye is highly contagious and is usually accompanied by redness in the white of the eye and increased tearing and/or discharge. While many minor cases improve within two weeks, some can develop into serious corneal inflammation and threaten sight. If you suspect conjunctivitis, visit your eye care provider at Dr. Melman’s Eyeland for an examination and treatment.
Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye disease is a general term for a group of eye problems that can result from having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, including diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic eye disease, so it is important that you don’t wait for symptoms to appear before having a comprehensive eye exam. Early detection and treatment of diabetic eye disease will dramatically reduce your chances of sustaining permanent vision loss.
Often called “the silent thief of sight,” glaucoma is an increase in the intraocular pressure of the eyes, which causes damage to the optic nerve with no signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to a decrease in peripheral vision and eventually blindness. While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are medications and surgery available that can help halt further vision loss. Early detection and regular eye exams are vital to slowing the progress of the disease.
Macular degeneration is a chronic, progressive disease that gradually destroys sharp central vision due to a deterioration of the macula, a tiny spot in the central portion of your retina comprised of millions of light-sensing cells. Because it is so commonly associated with aging, it is also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There are two forms of AMD called “dry,” most common and with no known treatment, and “wet,” less common and treated with laser procedures. Genetic testing is now available to help identify those most likely to develop “wet” macular degeneration.
In most cases, reversing damage caused by AMD is not possible, but supplements, protection from sunlight, eating a balanced diet, and quitting smoking can reduce the risk and progression of macular degeneration. For suggestions, speak with your eye care provider at Dr. Melman’s Eyeland.