In the span of a lifetime, a human eye gets prone to a lot of problems or disease that may or may not develop in the course of time. Common eye complaints that usually one complaints of comprises spots, blurry vision and glare at night. These conditions can be harmless or sometimes turn out to be early signs of an upcoming eye disease. It’s actually very hard to spot the difference. Thus, whenever such condition prevails in a chronic fashion, visit the eye doctor as soon as possible.
Types of eye problems/diseases
Following is the long list of eye problems or diseases, most of which can come up at any age of a person.
Myopia (Near sightedness)
Myopia is a medical condition in which the people suffering from it get a blurred vision of objects placed at a distance. However, vision of the objects within the nearby range remains unharmed in case of Myopia. As per medical science, a person is most likely to suffer from myopia if
- He/she indulges in a lot of close of reading
- Any or both of the parents suffer from Myopia
A condition like Myopia can be really annoying as it can create trouble in your day to day activities. Simple tasks like playing sports, focusing at the blackboard, watching TV and even driving becomes a challenge for a myopic person. Common symptoms of this disease are blurring vision, fatigue and squinting. In order to get your daily chorus done or correct a myopic eye, special glasses or contacts are recommended. In worst cases, it requires surgery.
Near sightedness: What Happens?
The prime cause of near sightedness or Myopia is the elongation of the eye ball. In some cases, abnormality in the shape of cornea or eye lens becomes the root cause. Just when the light rays enter a myopic eye, instead of falling on the retina, the rays tend to fall in front of it. This is what causes the problem as the formation of the image takes place before the rays touches the retina. The problem of near sightedness is quite common in teenagers and school children.
Hypermetropia (Far sightedness)
It is the exact reversal of Myopia. Known as Hypermetropia, the condition limits the vision of focusing at nearby objects. This results in blurred vision of things present at close distance. Some people are born with a mild condition of hypermetropia, which they develop in complete form as they grow old. Symptoms that indicate to this eye disease are blurry vision at night, headaches, eyestrain and trouble with reading. Special glasses or contacts are recommended to rectify this and in some cases, surgery is the only possible option.
Far sightedness: What happens?
Hypermetropia or far sightedness occurs when the eye ball gets shortened than its normal size. In this case, light rays after passing through the eye lens, form the image or focus right behind the retina. This results in blurred vision of close objects. Further seriousness in the condition of hypermetropia can also lead to blurriness of distant objects. Sometimes abnormality in the shape of cornea can also result in far sightedness. Children suffering from such a disease can also further be subjected to the condition of lazy eye (amblyopia) or crossed eyes (strabismus).
Greeks prefer to call it a disease of the old eye, for it appears at a senior age. Most of the times, it evolves during the 40s. Named as Presbyopia, the medical condition causes trouble in reading fine prints. It is advised that a person suffering from this disease must use bifocals or reading glasses. This would correct the errors of both the near and distant vision. People using contacts can make use of specially designed lenses for presbyopia.
Another common eye problem; Astigmatism which causes losing off the focus in the vision from all distances. This happens due to the front portion of the eye; cornea, going into an irregular curve. Owing to which light rays get scattered to different spots on the retina. Thereby losing the focus from a single point. To cure an eye disease of this kind, contact lenses or glasses are highly preferred. Some even choose to go for surgery. Prominent symptoms of Astigmatism include eye strain, fatigue and headache.
Refractive eye surgery
Amongst the highly successful methods to correct eye defects; refractive eye surgery, works wonders in curing near sightedness, far sightedness, astigmatism and reshaping of the cornea. However, refractive eye surgery is not recommended for people having thin, or abnormally shaped corneas, dry eye and severe vision problems. Although the success rate in this type of surgery revolves around 90%, there are possible chances of side effects like sensitivity to light or glare.
[Read more on Refractive Eye Surgery]
Glaucoma like no other eye disease is a slow damager. A person suffering from it won’t even come to know about it until he loses his sight. It starts with the loss of peripheral vision and then it takes its toll on the central vision. The condition of Glaucoma usually occurs around the age of 40. Thus, people nearing to this age or crossed the mark are advised regular eye checkup after every 1-2 years. If found, the disease can be cured by medications or surgery.
[Read more about Glaucoma]
What happens to the eye in Glaucoma?
In most cases of Glaucoma, the eye undergoes a serious intervention of pressure. When increased to a great level, it can result in optic nerve damage and finally loss of sight. The human eye consists of more than a million optic nerve fibers, which are responsible for carrying information to the brain. Increase in pressure happens due to the building up of too much of already available natural fluid in the eye. Glaucoma, if left untreated poses a great risk of complete blindness.
Macular degeneration is also an eye problem that effects elder people; mostly near their 60s. A person suffering from it would see a blurry spot in the central position of his vision. While in some cases, patients have complained of wavy lines in their vision. Old age people, particularly female, who have high blood pressure, smoking habit, obesity and a family history of the disease, are more likely to develop this condition. People under this age group with health conditions of this kind are advised to go for regular eye checkups.
Anatomy of Macular Degeneration
The central part of retina in the human eye is known as ‘Macula’ and the disease effects this very part. Macular Degeneration is generally of two types- Dry and wet. In the first kind of occurrence of this disease, yellow deposits called as Drusen get deposited inside the macula. Just when the condition turns bad, it breaks down, causing trouble in the delivery of images to the brain. On the other hand, the disease in the wet form leads to abnormal growth of blood vessels in the macula. This further can cause leakage of blood and fluid. Hence, a serious damage to the central part of the retina. The central blind spot is a common symptom of both the types of Macular degeneration.
Macular Degeneration: Test
In order to diagnose Macular degeneration manually at home, take a simple test of Amsler grid. The grid must have vertical and horizontal lines crisscrossing each other, leaving numerous shapes of squares in the figure. At the center, there would be a central dot. Start the test by covering one eye and staring at the central dot. Make sure you are seated at a distance of 12 to 15 inches away. Analyze your vision; if you see any blurred, broken or wavy line. Check if there is any area missing or distorted. Repeat this process with the other eye. This test is actually not an alternative of a medical eye exam, but a detector of the early signs of Macular Degeneration.
Signs of Macular Degeneration
If one is suffering from Macular Degeneration, then there lies a great possibility of a vision that is filled with distorted lines in the test of Amsler grid. The lines if not broken, might appear wavy, but still is a cause of concern. In the case of significant macular degeneration, there would be a central dark spot and that would be your cue to visit the eye doctor.
Color Blindness test
Quite obvious, the test aims to detect the condition of color blindness, if prevailing. On the screen of dotted colors, if you see a pattern that forms number ‘3’, then you certainly are a winner. However, if you make out number ‘5’, chances of partial color blindness are definitely high. Other than these two results, if a person is not able to spot any number, there is a great possibility of complete color blindness (a rare possibility). This test is very much effective in detecting the signs of color blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy is a special type of medical condition of the eye which gradually leads to partial vision loss. This settles with a complete blindness at the later stage. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are responsible for causing this kind of eye defect. It happens due to the damage of blood vessels being done in the retina. Common symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy include spots, blurry vision and pain in the eye. With passage of time, these symptoms can turn severe. Thus, diabetic patients are highly advised to undergo eye check-ups every year. Best method to prevent this type of eye damage.
[Read more on Diabetic Retinopathy]
Diabetic Retinopathy: How does it effect?
High blood sugar levels of a diabetic patient have the potential to cause heavy damage to the tiny blood vessels of the retina. These blood vessels are highly prone to break and swell. Sometimes there is a chance of leakage of fluid as well. In some cases of Diabetic Retinopathy, there has been a situation of growth of abnormal blood vessels, which in medical terms is known as proliferative retinopathy. When these blood vessels break as they are highly fragile, damages the retina in a gradual manner. This in turn causes blurred vision, blind spots and even blindness.
It is one of the very common problems among old aged people. Particularly around the age bar of 80, many of the people develop the disease of cataract, which actually is a condition of the lens getting clouded. Due to this, the vision turns highly blurry and worst at the night time. People suffering from cataract find simple tasks like reading and driving quite hard. Diabetes, too much smoking and exposure of the sun can increase the risk of cataract. There lies only solution to it i.e., surgery that involves replacing of the clouded lens with an artificial one.
[Also read: A Visual Guide to Cataract]
What exactly happens to the eye in Cataract?
A healthy human eye functions by converting the light entering its lens, into a sharp image on the retina. As people grow older they develop a tendency of building up of proteins inside the lens, which in turn leads to the situation of the lens getting clouded. In such a case, when light passes through the eye lens, gets scattered on the retina. Has it been the rays focusing at one point, the image would have been clear and sharp? But with scattered light rays, the vision would be blurred and sometimes it can cause changes in the color vision particularly at night. An advanced case of cataract is highly easy to detect as a muddy-colored circle gets formed at the center of the effected eye.
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
Retinitis Pigmentosa is an eye disorder that is often characterized with night vision problems at the early stages. As the condition worsens, loss of vision of the sides takes place. Then comes the later stage of tunnel vision. Retinitis Pigmentosa in its advanced form can also lead to total blindness. As per one research, intake of high doses of vitamin A can help curbing loss of vision. However, this must be done under the guidance of a doctor as excess of Vitamin A can causes toxicity.
Retinitis Pigmentosa: what happens?
The disease of Retinitis Pigmentosa causes the light-sensitive tissues of the retina to perish in a slow process. As a result of this, sending of signals to the brain gets stopped, which further leads to losing some portion of the vision. On diagnosing the situation, subnormal dark spots or pigments can be seen sprinkled inside the retina. Worsening of this eye disorder can turn into swelling of the retina, known as macular edema that features a central orange mass. In some cases, patients can even develop cataract.
Floaters and Specks
Sometimes we see blurry spots or specks floating around in our vision. These spots are actually debris that develops in the vitreous gel of our eyes. Highly common and harmless, floaters usually do not block the vision and are easy to spot in bright light like when you see a white screen or blue sky. In some of the rarest cases, the floaters tend to increase in number or come with a light flash. If that happens, take it as an urgent call to see the eye doctor. Similarly if you see persistent white or black spots with a sudden loss of the vision of your periphery, don’t waste any time in getting medical help.
Amblyopia (Lazy eye)
Amblyopia is amongst the common eye disorders in children. At such a young age when they find difficulty in seeing properly, the brain makes an adjustment that favors one of the eyes. This happens because of the alignment problem in the eyes, which causes poor vision. The alignment problem is also known as Strabismus or crossed eyes. A patch or a drop can be seen in the eyes of the effected child. If left untreated during the childhood, it can result in permanence of Amblyopia.
Eye care if you have an object in the eye
The human eye consists of a million nerve fibers and they are placed right beneath the surface of the cornea. A foreign object like a tiny speck around that area can prove painful. If that happens, do not go by rubbing the eye as it can make the situation worse. Rather, wash the eye with lukewarm water. On finding it of no help, contact the doctor who will remove it and prescribe antibiotics to prevent any sort of infection in the cornea.
Tears and Dry Eye
Dry eye is a disorder which causes reduction in the moisture content. This may happen due to aging, dry air and other health conditions. A condition like this can cause irritation and pain to the eye. People having this problem in a mild form can make use of eyedrops labeled as artificial tears. However, if the problem is much bad then another form of medication or procedure is required to fix it.
Pink eye (Conjunctivitis)
Conjunctivitis is a sort of an eye inflammation that happens due to the action of bacteria, virus or an allergy. In this situation, the eye turns red, feels itching and burning. Along with these symptoms, the eye also faces a discharge coming out from it. Conjunctivitis due to a viral action need not any antibiotics to cure, rather an antibiotic eye drop will do the required work. Being highly contagious, one needs to wash his hands often after clearing up the eye.
Stye looks like a small red pimple or a bump at the edge of the eyelid. It is generally a type of infection of the eyelid and in medical terms, is known as Blepharitis. Not a disorder to worry about, styes usually heals within a week on its own. To speed up the recovery, one can make use of warm and wet compresses on the eye. However, it is advised not to wear eye makeup or contact lenses until the eye gets fully recovered of the infection.
Quite common, allergies are synonymous with watery and itchy eyes. The environment around us is filled with many free floating minute substances, which can be the cause of allergies. Dust, pet dander, grass and pollen are the common triggers of an allergic attack. The doctor examining your condition would easily tell you the things to avoid. At home, you can make use of special mattresses and pillow covers designed to keep the allergens out. Allergen filters in air conditioners and furnaces is highly helpful in controlling the situation. People suffering from such an eye disorder are advised to use artificial tears, allergy eye drops and antihistamines.
Keep up with the eye exam
If your family has a history of eye problems, or if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle, an eye checkup at regular intervals of life is mandatory for you. It will not only tell about the condition of the eye, but life threatening conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, brain tumor and stroke can also be detected in such a test. For instance, if you have bulging eyes, you might be suffering from a thyroid disease, whereas yellowing of the whites of an eye is a possible sign of a liver problem.
Protection from the Sun
One of the likely factors of eye damage is too much exposure of the sun. Sun radiates UV rays in the form of light rays that enter earth’s atmosphere. These UV rays are very much harmful for the eye as it can burn out the cornea. One study shows that excess of this kind of exposure can bring cataract to a person 8-10 years earlier than usual. Thus, it is advised you wear sufficient protection before moving out on a sunny day. Hat and sunglasses work best in enduring the harmful rays. While driving, use a UV blocking film on the sides of car windows. Some people use to be sensitive to light. This mainly happens to those who have light colored eyes. However, if your eye turns sensitive to light more than the usual, you need to seek medical help as it can be a possible sign of some eye disorder.
Other protections for the eye
Our day to day life features a lot of household labored work, which while getting indulged in, we tend to ignore many things that can damage our eyes. Be it debris that flies up while mowing the lawn, grease splatters, splashing of the cleaning solution from the bucket. Eye specialists recommend that every of the household today must have ANSI-approved protective eye gear. No matter how minor an eye injury seems to you, take a time out from your work and get yourself checked medically.
Food for a healthy eye
In order to develop a healthy eye, medical science suggests more and more intake of carrots in the daily diet. Besides, there are other food items that can rightfully serve the purpose. A fair amount of nuts, spinach, fish, beef and whole grains are some of the food items that work in favor of maintaining a healthy eye. To gain maximum benefit for the eye, one must maintain a diet that is full of food items rich in anti-oxidants like vitamins C, E, omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, zinc, zeaxanthin and lutein. One research shows that a completely nutritional diet can even reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration eye disease.
6 Easy Tips for Healthy Eyes