There are eye conditions which can affect almost anyone, such as refractive errors, digital eye strain or having dry eyes. But there are also conditions which can have a bigger impact and threaten your vision.
Some of the most common eye conditions to look out for are:
When light rays aren’t focused properly on the retina, it causes blurry vision. Eye glasses are the simplest non-invasive solution for correcting refractive errors, which include:
- Myopia (nearsightedness), when the light rays focus in the front of the retina and objects that are far away look blurry.
- Hyperopia (farsightedness), when the rays focus behind the retina and close-up objects look blurry.
- Astigmatism, which can result in blurry vision because the cornea is not perfectly shaped to direct light into the eye.
- Presbyopia, which is also a farsightedness but is caused by the loss of elasticity of the eye’s lens due to ageing.
Dry eye is a condition when there is not enough tears and/or quality of tears has changed and the front surface of the eye is not fully lubricated. Symptoms of dry eye are a scratchy sensation or heavy eyelids or the feeling of foreign body in the eye. Other symptoms include stinging or burning, episodes of excess tearing, pain, sensitivity to light, redness in the eye. Many people with dry eye may also experience some changes in their vision, such as blurred vision, unstable vision.
A healthy life style with good nutrition and sunglasses with UV-protection may help you to avoid cataracts. If you have it already it can be corrected with surgery. People with dry eye symptoms should consult an Eye Care Professional to determine the cause, which can help guide treatment.
This is one of the most common eye conditions. Cataracts are classified as a degenerative eye disease, these are cloudy areas that develop in the crystalline lens and its capsule which stops light from reaching the back (the retina) of your eye. This can lead to blurred, cloudy or misty vision, particularly at night or in bright light. Cataracts are commonly found in older people, but other factors may increase your risk of developing this eye condition. These include smoking, diabetes, poor diet and overexposure to ultraviolet rays. A healthy life style with good nutrition and sunglasses with UV-protection may help you to avoid cataracts. If you have it already it can be corrected with surgery.
Colour blindnessThis is the difficulty to see or distinguish between certain colours. Most commonly red and green, but can also be blue and green, or blue and yellow. Colour blindness is often inherited, but it can also be a symptom of eye diseases such as glaucoma or AMD. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for this problem, but a colour-blind person can learn to adapt in various ways.
Digital devices have become a natural part of our everyday lives, but prolonged use of screens can lead to many vision problems. Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen*.
Your eyes work harder and focus more often when looking at a screen. This can cause symptoms including eyestrain, eye fatigue, blurred or double vision and dry eye. There is also research suggesting that long exposure to blue light emitted by digital devices can be harmful to us. This is a condition that is easily treated by resting for a while from screens.
Lazy eye (amblyopia)
This is a condition in which a person's vision does not develop properly in early childhood because the eye and the brain are not working together correctly. It occurs when the vision in one eye does not develop properly, causing the child to rely on the other, stronger eye. Note that children often do not complain of blurred vision in the amblyopic eye because this seems normal to them. Treatment options include prescription eyeglasses and vision therapy exercises.
Light sensitivity (photophobia)
This is an intolerance to light, usually bright light sources such as sunlight, fluorescent light and incandescent light. Light sensitivity can cause discomfort and the need to squint or close your eyes. Using tinted lenses, sunglasses, photochromatic or polarised lenses might help to ease the problem.
Also known as cross-eye or strabismus, a squint is an eye condition where the eyes focus in different directions. Thus, the brain receives two visual images, which can lead to blurred or double vision and lazy eye. A squint usually appears before the age of five, although it can begin later in life and is usually detected during a routine eye examination. If diagnosed early, squint can usually be corrected. The condition may be treated with corrective eyeglasses, eye-muscle exercises, surgery, or a combination of these approaches.
Don’t wait too long with seeking help on these conditions. Many of these can be corrected with the help of a proper eye exam.
Book a meeting with your local optician if you experience any of the symptoms described above. If there is no condition found, then you will at least get a status update on your vision which is good for you!
*The Vision Council. Eye overexposed: The Digital Device Dilemma. 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report.