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About Your Eyes

Important eye information from your friends at Wadene Eye Clinic
Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness (myopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away are blurry.

The degree of your nearsightedness determines your ability to focus on distant objects. People with severe nearsightedness can see clearly only objects just a few inches away, while those with mild nearsightedness may clearly see objects several yards away.

Nearsightedness may develop gradually or rapidly, often worsening during childhood and adolescence. Nearsightedness tends to run in families.

A basic eye exam can confirm nearsightedness. You can easily correct the condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another treatment option for nearsightedness is surgery.

FARSIGHTEDNESS

Farsightedness (hyperopia) is a common vision condition in which you can see distant objects clearly, but objects nearby may be blurry.

The degree of your farsightedness determines your focusing ability. People with severe farsightedness may see clearly only objects a great distance away, while those with mild farsightedness may be able to clearly see objects that are closer.

Farsightedness usually is present at birth and tends to run in families. You can easily correct this condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another treatment option is surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is not just one eye disease, but a group of eye conditions resulting in optic nerve damage, which causes loss of vision. Abnormally high pressure inside your eye (intraocular pressure) usually, but not always, causes this damage.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Sometimes called the silent thief of sight, glaucoma can damage your vision so gradually you may not notice any loss of vision until the disease is at an advanced stage. The most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, has no noticeable signs or symptoms except gradual vision loss.

Early diagnosis and treatment can minimize or prevent optic nerve damage and limit glaucoma-related vision loss. It is important to get your eyes examined regularly and to make sure your that your eye doctor measures your intraocular pressure.

cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car, especially at night, or see the expression on a friend’s face.

Most cataracts develop slowly and don’t disturb your eyesight early on. But with time, cataracts will eventually interfere with your vision.

At first, stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help you deal with cataracts. But if impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, you might need cataract surgery. Fortunately, cataract surgery is generally a safe, effective procedure.

Astigmatism

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common eye condition that is easily corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Astigmatism is characterized by an irregular curvature of the cornea. This is one type of refractive error. Astigmatism occurs in nearly everybody to some degree. For significant curvature, treatment is required.

 A person’s eye is naturally spherical in shape. Under normal circumstances, when light enters the eye, it refracts evenly, creating a clear view of the object. However, the eye of a person with astigmatism is shaped more like a football or the back of a spoon. For this person, when light enters the eye it is refracted more in one direction than the other, allowing only part of the object to be in focus at one time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy. 

What Causes Astigmatism?

 Astigmatism can be hereditary and is often present at birth. It can also result from pressure from the eyelids on the cornea, incorrect posture, or an increased use of the eyes for close work.

What Are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?

People with undetected astigmatism often experience headaches, fatigue, eyestrain, and blurred vision at all distances. While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more symptoms.

 How Are Astigmatisms Diagnosed?

 Your ophthalmologist can diagnose astigmatism with a thorough eye exam. Astigmatism may occur with other refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Unfortunately, astigmatism often goes undetected in school-age children.

Because astigmatisms may increase slowly, you should visit your ophthalmologist whenever you notice significant changes in your vision. Ophthalmologists provide total eye Care, including exams, diagnosis, and treatment of disease through medication and surgery.

How Are Astigmatisms Treated?

Almost all degrees of astigmatism can be corrected with properly prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses. For a person with only a slight degree of astigmatism, corrective lenses may not be needed at all, as long as other conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness are not present. If the astigmatism is moderate to high, however, corrective lenses are probably needed.

  • Corrective lenses (eyeglasses or contact lenses).
    For astigmatism, special corrective lenses called toric lenses are prescribed. Toric lenses have greater light bending power in one direction than the other. After performing various tests, your eye doctor will determine the ideal toric lens prescription for your astigmatism.
  • Refractive surgery.
    Another method for correcting astigmatism is by changing the shape of the cornea through refractive or laser eye surgery. While there is more than one type of refractive surgery, specific treatments are recommended on an individual basis.

Refractive surgeries require healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars and any eye disease. As technology progresses, it is becoming more and more important that you explore all options and possibilities before deciding which refractive surgery and treatment is right for you.

PRESBYOPIA

The gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus actively on nearby objects is a not-so-subtle reminder that you’ve reached middle age. A natural, often annoying part of aging, presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until around age 65.

You may become aware of presbyopia when you start holding books and newspapers at arm’s length to be able to read them. If you’re nearsighted, you might temporarily manage presbyopia by reading without your glasses.

A basic eye exam can confirm presbyopia. You can correct the condition with prescription eyeglasses.

MACULAR DEGENERATION

What is macular degeneration?

 The term “macular degeneration” includes many different eye diseases, all of which affect central, or detail vision. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common of these disorders, mainly affecting people over the age of 60. Although there are many types of macular degeneration, age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD) is the most common type. Age-related macular degeneration occurs in two forms: “wet” age-related macular degeneration and “dry” age-related macular degeneration. “Wet” age-related macular degeneration is less common but more aggressive in its development to severe central vision loss. “Dry” age-related macular degeneration is the more common type and is more slowly progressive in Ohio using loss of vision.

What is wet age-related macular degeneration?

Wet age-related macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to grow underneath the retina. These new blood vessels (known as choroidal neovascularization or CNV) tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye and interfere with the retina’s function and causes the central vision to blur. Under these circumstances, vision loss may be rapid and severe. Some patients, however, do not notice visual changes despite the onset of CNV. Therefore, periodic eye examinations are very important for patients at risk for CNV. Once CNV has developed in one eye, whether there is a visual loss or not, the other eye is at relatively high risk for the same change.

What is dry age-related macular degeneration?

In dry AMD, the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. With less of the macula functioning, central vision diminishes. Dry AMD often occurs in just one eye at first. Later, the other eye can be affected. The cause of dry AMD is unknown. The dry form is much more common than the wet form. Dry AMD can advance and cause vision loss without turning into wet AMD. Dry AMD can also rapidly transform into the wet form by the growth of new blood vessels.

What causes macular degeneration?

We do not know the precise cause for the development of ARMD. However, we do know that there are certain risk factors for the development of age-related macular degeneration.

What are risk factors for macular degeneration?

 he greatest risk factor is age. Although AMD may occur during middle age, studies show that people over age 60 are clearly at greater risk than other age groups.

What are the symptoms of macular degeneration?

Neither dry nor wet AMD cause any eye pain. The most common early symptom in dry AMD is blurred vision. Dry macular degeneration symptoms usually develop gradually and do not include total blindness. However, the symptoms may worsen the quality of life by making reading, driving, and facial recognition difficult. Other symptoms may include decreased night vision, a decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors, increase in the haziness of overall vision. All of the above symptoms may also be noticed in the wet form of AMD. In addition, the most common symptom in wet macular degeneration is straight lines appearing crooked or wavy.

How is macular degeneration diagnosed?

A thorough examination by an eye doctor is the best way to determine if you have macular degeneration or if you are at risk for developing the condition. The exam begins by testing your visual acuity or the sharpness of your vision. There are several different tests for visual acuity. The most familiar one has lines of black letters on a white chart. Next, your eyes may be tested with an Amsler grid. This test helps your doctor determine if you are experiencing areas of distorted or reduced vision, both common symptoms of macular degeneration. If you do have macular degeneration, your doctor will use the Amsler grid to determine if your vision has changed. After these visual tests, the front part of your eyes will be examined to determine if everything is healthy. Your doctor may put anesthetic drops in your eyes before measuring the pressure in each eye. Drops are also administered, which cause your pupils to dilate. This will allow your doctor to examine the retina through the enlarged pupil. After the dilating drops are administered and allowed time to work, the eye doctor will then use a slit-lamp to examine the eyes. The slit-lamp is a special microscope that enables the doctor to examine the different parts of the eye under magnification. When used with handheld lenses or special contact lenses, the slit-lamp gives the examiner a highly magnified view of the retina.

What is the treatment for wet macular degeneration?

Wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye. None of these treatments is a permanent cure for wet AMD. The disease and loss of vision may continue to grow despite treatment.

What is the treatment for dry macular degeneration?

There is currently no treatment available to reverse dry macular degeneration. However, dry macular degeneration usually develops at a slower pace and most patients with this condition are able to live relatively normal, productive lives. Often one eye is affected more than the other.

Can macular degeneration be prevented? 

Your lifestyle can play a role in reducing your risk of developing AMD. This includes:

  • Eating a healthy diet high in green, leafy vegetables and fish
  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining blood pressure and weight at normal levels
  • Engaging in regular, moderate exercise
KERATOCONUS

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the shape of the cornea becomes distorted. The cornea is a clear structure that covers the front of the eye and allows light to enter the eye. In a healthy eye, the cornea curves like a dome. In an eye with keratoconus, the center of the cornea slowly thins and bulges, so that it sags and has a cone shape. The cause of keratoconus is unknown.

What are the symptoms of keratoconus?

Keratoconus tends to affect younger people and the symptoms sometimes start in the early teen years and progresses most rapidly for the next 10 to 20 years. Often, eyeglass prescriptions must be changed frequently as the disease progresses.

Symptoms include:
•Difficultly driving at night
•Halo’s and ghosting, especially at night
•Eye strain
•Headaches and general eye pain
•Eye irritation, excessive rubbing of the eye

How is keratoconus diagnosed?

Keratoconus can usually be diagnosed with a slit-lamp examination as well measurement of the corneal curvature. Your ophthalmologist will look for signs such as corneal thinning, stress lines, and scarring at the apex of the corneal cone. Keratoconus, especially in the early stages, can be difficult to diagnose and its symptoms could be associated with other eye problems. Simply recognizing symptoms does not by itself diagnose the condition.

What is the treatment for keratoconus?
The primary treatment options for keratoconus are contact lenses and surgery. In the very early stages of keratoconus, vision problems can be corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. As keratoconus progresses, special rigid gas permeable contact lenses may be necessary. Advanced keratoconus may require surgery.

STRABISMUS

What is strabismus?

Strabismus (also called crossed eyes, deviation, heterotropia, squint, tropia) is a condition where both of your eyes do not look toward the same object together. There are six different muscles that surround the eyes and work together so that both eyes can focus on the same object. For someone with strabismus, these muscles do not work together. As a result, one eye looks at one object, while the other eye turns in a different direction and is focused on another object. When this happens, two different images, one from each eye, are sent to the brain. This confuses the brain, and the brain may learn to ignore the image from the weaker eye. Strabismus is a common condition among children but it can also occur later in life.

What are the symptoms of strabismus?

The main sign of strabismus is an eye that is not directed straight. Sometimes a child or young person will squint with one eye in bright sunlight. Symptoms of faulty depth perception may also be noticed. Adults with strabismus will usually have double vision.

How is strabismus diagnosed?

Strabismus is usually diagnosed with a physical examination that includes a detailed examination of the eyes. Tests are done to determine how much the eyes are out of alignment. These eye tests may include corneal light reflex, cover/uncover test, retinal exam, standard ophthalmic exam and visual acuity.

What is the treatment for strabismus?

Treatment of strabismus may consist of eyeglasses, patching, eye coordination exercises (called orthoptics) and/or surgery on the eye muscles. Eyeglasses, with or without patching, are often the treatment tried first and can usually reduce the amount of deviation.