Information on some of the most common eye disorders:
In the U.S., 30% of the population is near-sighted. This is a common vision condition that is caused by a longer than average eyeball or by a steeply curved cornea. In near-sightedness, distance objects are “blurry” or out of focus, while near objects are “clear” or more in focus. Near-sightedness is easily treated with glasses and/or contact lenses, and tends to change the most during the childhood and teenage/young adult years.
Far-sightedness is a common vision condition caused by a shorter than average eyeball or by a flatter than average cornea. Many far-sighted people have excellent distance vision, by may notice eyestrain or headaches after prolonged reading or near work. More severe far-sightedness can cause blurry vision in addition to eyestrain, headaches, and eye fatigue. Far-sightedness is easily treated with glasses and/or contact lenses.
Presbyopia is focusing problem that occurs to everyone starting around the age of 40. It is not a disease, and unfortunately, cannot be prevented as it is a normal part of the aging process. Over time, the crystalline lens inside the eye hardens and loses flexability. This makes it more difficult to focus on close objects and reading material. The most common complaint for people experiencing presbyopia is, “My arms are too short!” (Holding reading material further away requires less focusing from the eye.) Presbyopia is easily corrected with reading glasses, bifocals, progressive addition lenses (the “no-line bifocal”), multifocal contact lenses, and monovision with contact lenses.
Dry eye has many causes. The most common causes of dry eye are deficient tear production, clogged tear glands, certain medications (like antihistamines, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants), and living in dry environments. Dry eye can cause stinging/burning of the eyes, a “gritty” sensation, irritation, redness, intermittent blurry vision, difficulty wearing contact lenses, and even watering of the eyes. It is important to see your eye doctor if you suspect you have dry eye, because excessive dry eye may scar the cornea, damage ocular tissues, and impair vision. Dry eye cannot be cured, but your eye doctor can recommend different treatments for the different types of dry eye to alleviate the symptoms and keep your vision intact and your eye tissues healthy.
Astigmatism is a common vision condition that may occur along with either near-sightedness or far-sightedness. It is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or intraocular lens, and can cause blurry distance and near vision. Astigmatism is easily treated with glasses or “toric” contact lenses.
Cataracts occur when the crystalline lens inside the eye turns cloudy or opaque, most often in people over the age of 55. It can cause blurry vision that is not correctable with glasses or contact lenses, and can cause problems with glare (especially at night), and can cause a change in color perception. Unprotected Sun/UV exposure can increase the likelihood of cataracts, so it very important to wear sunglasses with a proper UV coating when outdoors to decrease the chances of getting a cataract.