The human eye is a sensory organ that reacts to light, allowing people to see. Many eye conditions can lead to vision complications. Some eye problems are minor and may go away on their own or are easily treatable. However, some eye disorders and diseases are more serious and can lead to blindness.
The eye is very complex and contains various tissues and structures that work together to provide vision. Many types of eye disorders and diseases can affect vision and may lead to blindness.
This article discusses some common eye disorders and diseases and how to prevent them.
The eyes work by allowing light to pass through the pupil to reach the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eyeball.
The iris is a colored ring of tissue around the pupil that
The lens is the clear part of the inner eye that assists the cornea in focusing incoming light onto the retina. The retina contains light-sensitive receptor cells that convert light into electrical signals.
These signals travel to the brain through the optic nerve, a thick bundle of nerve fibers behind the eye. The brain processes these electrical signals and converts them into visual images.
Eye disorders and diseases can affect any part of this process to cause vision problems. Some diseases can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Eye disorders and diseases cause a range of symptoms that may affect vision. Some common eye symptoms can
- blurred or cloudy vision
- double vision
- seeing glare or a ring around lights
- seeing floating spots
- sensitivity to light
- sore or tired eyes
- difficulty focusing on a book or computer
- lazy eye
Some symptoms will emerge in childhood and others in later life. These symptoms can worsen over time and may require medical treatment.
Many different conditions that can affect the eyes and vision,
Refractive errors include:
- Nearsightedness or myopia: This is where distant objects look blurry.
- Farsightedness or hyperopia: This causes close objects to look blurry.
- Astigmatism: Due to an abnormal curvature of the cornea, distant and near objects may look blurry.
- Presbyopia: This is a natural and gradual loss of the ability to focus on nearby objects, typically after 40 years old.
These conditions result from structural problems with the eye that prevent light from focusing correctly on the retina. For example, presbyopia is when the lens becomes more rigid with age and cannot focus light on the retina so well.
Refractive errors are usually
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) refers to a loss of central vision that occurs with age. The problem occurs when the macula, which is the central area of the retina, is damaged. AMD only affects central vision without affecting the peripheral areas.
The condition can be wet or dry. Wet AMD happens when the growth of blood vessels under the macular area causes rapid loss of central vision, and dry AMD occurs when the macular thins due to aging and causes gradual loss of central vision.
Cataracts are the
People can manage cataracts with new glasses or contacts or make changes around the home and at work, such as brighter lights. However, doctors may suggest surgery to replace the clouded lens with an implant and restore vision in more severe cases.
Diabetes can damage blood vessels over time, including in the retina. The damage can cause blood and other fluids to leak, leading to swelling in the retina. The condition may cause no symptoms at first. However, it can progress to cause dark, floating spots or streaks and distort vision. It can also lead to more serious complications, such as the retina becoming detached from the back of the eye.
Doctors may suggest laser treatement or injections to treat the condition. In severe cases, eye surgery may be necessary.
Glaucoma refers to a group of
Open-angle glaucoma is the
Doctors may suggest eye drops or laser treatment to reduce pressure on the eye. Surgery can also help to drain fluid from the eye.
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, mostly affects infants and children. The condition causes vision problems in one eye when the brain cannot properly process vision from it. There are many possible causes of amblyopia, such as a refractive error or cataract. If caught early, a person can receive treatment to prevent amblyopia.
The treatment will typically involve wearing an eye patch over the dominant eye or using blurring eye drops. This will help the brain to process vision from the weaker eye and eventually balance out the problem.
Other treatments might be helpful when there is a specific cause, such as glasses to correct a refractive error or surgery for a cataract.
Strabismus is where a lack of coordination between the eyes can cause them to become unbalanced, typically in infants. The condition can lead to amblyopia without treatment. Doctors might recommend glasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgery to help coordinate the eyes.
- getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam to check for any problems
- being aware of risk factors, such as obesity or a family history of eye disease
- following a healthy diet that is rich in dark, leafy green vegetables
- quitting smoking
- exercising regularly
- wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from the sun
- wearing safety goggles and glasses when there is a risk of eye damage, such as playing sport or construction work
- taking breaks from focusing on something nearby every 20 minutes by staring at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- following basic hygiene steps to avoid eye infections, such as washing hands
Some eye problems may not be apparent at first, but the symptoms can worsen over time. Anyone with symptoms of an eye disorder or disease should contact a doctor or eye specialist for an examination.
Common eye problems become
Eye problems typically refer to any condition that affects the eyes and vision. Some problems are a natural consequence of aging, but others could result from eye damage or another underlying condition.
Anyone concerned about their vision should contact a doctor or eye specialist. Following a healthy lifestyle and having regular eye check-ups can help to prevent eye problems from occurring.