Common Eye Disorders and Diseases
Eye examinations often uncover a wide variety of eye disorders and diseases.
Below is a list of some of the more common eye disorders and diseases found in patients of this practice.
Cataract is the condition where the crystalline lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. People with cataract will generally suffer from blurred vision and increased glare sensitivity. Most cataracts are related to aging, (common in older age groups) however there are other causes including trauma, diabetes and other medical conditions. Treatment for cataract involves referral to an ophthalmologist for cataract surgery upon which the eye’s cloudy lens is replaced by a man made intra-ocular lens thereby restoring the vision. Regular eye exams will help reduce the risk of significant vision loss secondary to cataract.
Glaucoma is the condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, is slowly destroyed generally by an increased pressure or pressure fluctuations inside the eye (raised intra-ocular pressure). Glaucoma is often referred to as the “thief of sight” as generally there are no symptoms until such a time when a great deal of vision loss has already occurred. This is why regular eye testing is paramount for such a condition, especially those with a family history of the condition, diabetics and migraine sufferers to list a few. There are many types of glaucoma including chronic, acute, low tension, secondary and congenital to name a few. There are still many unanswered questions regarding the cause and risk factors involving glaucoma. Regular eye exams will help reduce the risk of permanent vision loss secondary to glaucoma.
Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the title given to a group of conditions where the central region of the eye’s retina, known as the macula, shows degeneration resulting in a progressive, painless loss of central vision. People with AMD can have difficulty seeing to drive, read and recognise faces. Although there seems to be no permanent cure for AMD, there are treatment options available today which for some can slow down its progression. Success of this treatment appears to depend upon the degree of AMD when treatment is initiated as well as the type of AMD (wet, dry, and other forms). It seems that the earlier the AMD is detected, the more vision you are likely to retain so regular eye exams is certainly recommended.
Diabetic Retinopathy – is the condition where the eye’s retina becomes “diseased” from complications of diabetes. Diabetes can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels which supply the retina and this ultimately results in a compromised retina. Everyone with diabetes can potentially develop diabetic retinopathy. If diabetic retinopathy exists and without any treatment deemed necessary, diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent loss of vision. Regular eye exams will help reduce the risk of permanent vision loss secondary to diabetes.
Blepharitis is the most common inflammation of the eyelids, involving the eyelashes and lid margins, a result of a bacterial activity (Staphylococcus). In blepharitis, hard, yellow, crusty debris can be observed within the eyelashes and at the site of the lid margin. Those who suffer from blepharitis may suffer irritation of the eyelids (particularly at the margins), a burning/stinging sensation of the eyes or notice a foreign body sensation in their eye(s).
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition causing intermittent or chronic eye irritation, whereby the body produces a lesser amount of tears or when those tears produced are poor in quality (too thin and watery and no longer thick and viscous). The symptoms of DES include tired eyes, a foreign body sensation/grittiness, burning, stinging, itchiness, redness, watery eyes, increased glare sensitivity, a sudden stabbing pain behind the eyes, difficulties opening the eyes after sleep and blurred vision.
Pterygium is a fleshy, classically triangular-shaped growth which can extend over the cornea (the front lens of the eye). Pterygium generally occur more often in those people who spend extended time in sunny (high UV), dry and dusty environments. Treatments for pterygium can involve the use of various eye drops to help with redness and comfort, however some pterygium require surgical removal if they extend too far across the cornea and the sight is threatened. Protection is often better than cure so protective eyewear including wrap-around sunglasses are recommended along with ocular lubricating eye drops in dry conditions. Regular eye exams will help reduce the risk of permanent vision loss secondary to pterygium.