Common Types of Eye Conditions
From the time we wake up to the moment we turn off the light at night, our eyes are in constant use. It’s natural for our eyes to wear out over time, and for our vision to worsen the older we get. In addition to age, there are many eye conditions which can lead to long-term vision impairment, including:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
- Detached or Torn Retina
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Dry Eye
- Floaters and Flashes
Know the signs and symptoms of these common eye conditions to help you identify potential problems, and always remember to seek treatment as soon as possible. Many eye conditions can occur at any age, although some are more likely to happen later in life than others. Protecting your eyes now will keep you seeing clearly for years to come!
Types of Eye-Related Issues Include:
Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The macula is the part of the eye which is responsible for a person’s central vision, and allows for fine details. The macula can be affected by a number of other issues, but the most common type is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD may be caused either by thinning tissues and deposits of a fatty protein called drusen, or when abnormal blood vessels grow beneath the retina. Macular degeneration may cause a loss of vision over time, but rarely total blindness.
Amblyopia: More commonly known as ‘lazy eye’, amblyopia occurs when one or both eyes does not develop normal vision. The amblyopic eye can impair or even worsen the normal eye’s vision. While adults can undergo treatment, this condition is usually best treated during childhood, and ideally before the age of nine when the visual system has fully developed.
Cataracts: Cataracts are one of the most common eye conditions. They occur when the eye’s lens becomes clouded, and is characterized by blurry or dim vision. Cataracts usually develop slowly, and you may not notice symptoms until your daily activities start to become affected. Cataracts are treatable by surgery, which is the treatment option for this condition.
Detached or Torn Retina: A healthy and intact retina is key to having good vision throughout life. The retina is in charge of converting light into signals that our brain can interpret as images. Both accidents and natural causes can lead to a tear or detachment of the retina, which can lead to blindness. Surgery can reattach the retina and restore a patient’s vision.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye condition for diabetics, usually manifesting itself as changes in the blood vessels in the retina. Abnormal blood vessels can form on the retina in some cases. In other cases, blood vessels swell and leak fluid. Treatment may include surgical or injection options.
Dry Eye: While tears are usually associated with sadness, tears are a natural part of healthy eye function. When we blink, our eyelids spread a new layer of tears over the surface of the eye. This keeps our eyes smooth, clear, and comfortable. When our eyes aren’t producing enough tears, or tears of the right quality, this can lead to dry eye. Artificial eye drops or ‘tears’ are usually prescribed to treat dry eye.
Floaters and Flashes: If you’ve ever noticed small clouds or specks in your vision which don’t go away when you rub your eyes, you may be seeing floaters. These are small collections of cells or other materials which are inside your eye. Floaters are usually harmless, do not require surgery for removal, and will usually go away on their own. Vitreous floaters may be a symptom of a detached retina; in these cases, the retina will need to be reattached.
Glaucoma: Glaucoma is an eye disease which is caused by pressure which builds up in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. This condition can lead to blindness if not treated properly. Fortunately, blindness from glaucoma can usually be prevented if treated promptly.
Eye Specialists at Florida Medical Clinic
With daily life being busier now than ever, it can be easy to forget about our vision’s health. Routine eye care is just as important as your annual physical exam!
You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience:
- Eye injury
- Eye pain
- Excessive tearing
- Persistent redness
- Decreased vision, even if only temporary
- Darkness which blocks your vision
- Double vision
The Florida Medical Clinic Opthamology Department is always ready to assist you with any questions, concerns, or eye problems you may have. Our Optical Centers, located in Tampa and Zephyrhills, are available onsite for all glasses or contacts needs. Make an appointment today!