MYOPIA

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Commonly referred to as nearsightedness, myopia is a condition that causes your distance vision to be blurry while you are still able to see clearly up close. This happens because your eyeball is slightly longer than average which causes a blurry image to focus on your retina. As you grow and age, your body is constantly changing along with your eyes which is why your prescription can change every year as you become more nearsighted. Myopia can easily be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgical procedures. On your eye glasses prescription, you know you have myopia if there is a minus sign in front of the number and the higher the number the more nearsighted you are.

Myopia is a very common condition, however very high amounts of myopia can become problematic as it can put you at a greater risk for many other eye conditions. This is why new areas of research have been focused on a topic called myopia control. Myopia control aims to slow down the progression of myopia at a young age in order to prevent the development of very high myopia. Talk to your optometrist today if you are concerned with your child’s myopia!


HYPEROPIA

© Photo by: Mark Ou

© Photo by: Mark Ou

Commonly referred to as farsightedness, hyperopia is a condition that causes your distance vision to be clear while your near vision is blurry. If you have high enough hyperopia however, your vision will be blurry at all distances. This happens because your eyeball is slightly shorter than average which causes a blurry image to focus on your retina. Hyperopia can easily be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgical procedures. On your eye glasses prescription, you know you have hyperopia if there is a plus sign in front of the number and the higher the number the more farsighted you are.


ASTIGMATISM

© Photo by: Pi.1415926535

© Photo by: Pi.1415926535

Astigmatism is a condition that essentially has to do with the shape of the front part of your eye, the cornea. Instead of the cornea of the eye being a perfect sphere like a soccer ball, it is shaped more like a football. This can cause your vision to be blurry at distance and near, and it can also cause you to see streaks around lights at nighttime. The cornea being shaped this way will focus light entering your eye to two different points instead of a single point. This requires your optometrist to give you 2 different powers in one eye in order to make the light focus into a single point again. Astigmatism is very common and over 56% of people have some degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism can easily be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgical procedures. On your eye glasses prescription, you know you have astigmatism if you have a second number in your prescription listed as ‘cyl’.


PRESBYOPIA

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Presbyopia is a natural aging process that everyone goes through. It usually starts to occur around the age of 40-45 and progressively gets worse as you age. This condition causes your near vision to become blurry as you have more difficulty focusing on things up close. Presbyopia is a result of the natural lens in your eye becoming harder and less flexible due to age. When you are young, your lens inside your eye is very flexible and can change shape in order to meet your reading demands. However, as you get older your lens becomes thicker and harder losing its flexibility to change shape as easily which in turn loses your ability to see clearly up close. Presbyopia can easily be corrected with a pair of reading glasses, getting progressive bifocals (no line bifocals), or lined bifocals. If you prefer to wear contact lenses, presbyopia can also be corrected with special contact lenses called multifocals or using a technique called monovision. Talk to your optometrist today to discuss a personalized plan for you!


CATARACTS

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Cataracts is a natural aging process that everyone will go through. If you live long enough you will develop cataracts. Cataracts is a condition where the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy due to age. A cataract is a lot like looking through a dirty window. This causes your vision to become blurry and hazy at distance and near. You may also notice that nighttime vision is a lot worse and you may experience increased glare and halos around lights at night. A cataract can be removed through a simple procedure called cataract surgery where the old cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear implant. Cataract surgery is an optional procedure and is done when you feel like your vision is not good enough even with your glasses. Also, to slow down the progression of cataracts you want to use sunglasses with UV protection!


FLOATERS

© Photo by:  Texjer

© Photo by: Texjer

Floaters is a common condition that many patients experience. It looks like black flies/strings that float by in your vision. Floaters occur when collagen inside your eyeball clumps together forming the floating strings you see in your vision. Floaters are usually completely harmless and unfortunately are just your friends to live with as it is a natural aging process. Currently there are no commonly performed treatment for floaters.

However, seeing a sudden increase in the amount of floaters or flashing lights could be an indication of a retinal detachment and seeing an optometrist ASAP is highly recommended.


POSTERIOR VITREOUS DETACHMENT (PVD)

© Photo by: Jonathan Trobe, M.D

© Photo by: Jonathan Trobe, M.D

A PVD is a condition that is usually associated with floaters. A PVD is a normal aging process that many patients experience. Inside the middle of your eyeball there is a big ball of clear jelly called the vitreous that maintains the shape of your eye. As you get older this big ball of jelly changes shape and pulls toward the center of your eyeball. As the big ball of jelly pulls toward the center of your eyeball it can tug on the sensory tissue of your eye called the retina which may be seen as flashes of light by you. As the vitreous collapses and clumps onto itself it also forms these floaters that you may see in your vision. It is important to see your optometrist right away when you experience flashes of light and increased floaters as that could be a sign of a retinal detachment which can cause permanent vision loss.


RETINAL DETACHMENT

© Credit: Optos

© Credit: Optos

A retinal detachment is a serious condition that results when your sensory retina detaches from your eyeball. This can cause permanent vision loss if it is not detected and repaired early. Any hole or tear in the retina can lead to a retinal detachment if not caught early. Yearly eye exams with dilation allow your optometrist to detect any holes or tears before a retinal detachment occurs. If you experience flashes of light, increase in floaters, or a curtain blocking your vision, seek an eye care provider right away as you could be experiencing a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment can be repaired with immediate surgery with minimal loss of vision if detected early.


GLAUCOMA

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Glaucoma is a slowly progressive condition that can lead to irreversible blindness. Glaucoma is caused by high eye pressures which damages your optic nerve. You can think of the optic nerve as a cable wire that connects your eyes to your brain. Damage to your optic nerve will cause vision loss that starts in your side vision and will progressively move toward the center of your vision if not treated and managed early. Although there is no cure for glaucoma, it can be managed with eye drops or surgical procedures that lower your eye pressure to slow down the progression of this condition. Your optometrist will perform a variety of scans and tests that will help them monitor your condition closely to provide an individualized treatment plan for you.


DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

© Credit: Optos

© Credit: Optos

Diabetes is a condition that can affect your entire body including your eyes! When we see signs of diabetes in your eyes we call it diabetic retinopathy. The eye is the only place in the body that we can directly view blood vessels without cutting you open. This gives optometrist the opportunity to detected any early changes to blood vessels due to the diabetes. Diabetes affects your blood vessels by making them leaky. This can be seen as areas of bleeding inside the eye, which when left uncontrolled can lead to vision loss. The best treatment option for diabetic retinopathy is prevention, which is why it is really important to have regular follow ups with your primary care provider to closely monitor your blood sugar levels. If you develop significant bleeding in the eye due to uncontrolled diabetes, you may possibly require eye injections to slow down the bleeding.


AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (ARMD)

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

© Photo by: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Age-related macular degeneration is a serious eye condition that causes central vision loss. It occurs when the waste recycling plant of the eye begins to stop working. This causes a build of waste products in the eye which causes damage to the eye. Risk factors for developing ARMD include family history, caucasian, and smoking. Although there is no cure for ARMD, there are ways to slow down the progression of the disease. This is why it is critical to have yearly eye exams so your optometrist can detect early signs of ARMD. A healthy diet of green leafy vegetables as well as brightly colored veggies and fruits have been show to slow down the progression of ARMD. Your optometrist may also recommend some eye vitamins that also have been show to slow down the progression of ARMD.


DRY EYES

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Dry eyes is a condition that many patients deal with every day. Some symptoms of dry eyes include redness, gritty sensation, tearing, and eye pain. Dry eyes can be caused by a variety of factors and treatment is tailored to the type of dry eyes you have. Some treatment options for dry eyes include artificial tears, warm compresses, lid scrubs and punctal plugs. This is why it’s important to see your optometrist so they can develop a personalized treatment regimen for you!