The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people have vision disorders. Where do you fit into that statistic? Do you even know if you fit into that statistic?
There are many different kinds of vision disorders. Some are easily detectable, but others are not. Are you rusty on your understanding of these disorders or common eye problems?
Learning common symptoms and risks is key to preventing and even curing these problems. Remember, knowledge is power!
Fortunately, we have the complete guide for you and your loved ones. Let’s get into it!
Refractive errors are some of the most common vision disorders.
Refraction refers to the bending of light as it passes from one object to another. When light rays are refracted (as they pass through the cornea and lens), vision occurs. However, like with most things, errors in this process can happen.
Let’s look at the most common refractive errors.
If someone is nearsighted, objects that are far away from them seem blurry. On the other hand, they likely don’t have any issues seeing things when they are up close. If he is nearsighted, light focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina.
If someone is farsighted, objects up close often seem blurry or out of focus. Distant objects, on the other hand, do not cause the same problems.
This is a condition where the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina. This can cause objects to appear stretched out, blurry, and unclear.
Treating Refractive Errors
Refractive errors are easily treatable. You can correct these vision disorders with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery.
Eyeglasses tend to be the simplest and safest way to treat these vision disorders. With that said, many people prefer contact lenses or surgery.
Cataracts are also one of the most common vision disorders. In fact, most people by the age of 65 will develop them at some point in their lives.
While cataracts can occur due to other vision disorders, they mostly result from our natural aging processes.
As we age, our lens can lose their flexibility in focusing on light. The changes in our crystalline lens can lead to cataract development.
Symptoms may start out very subtle and slight. They typically include:
- Poor night vision
- Painless vision blurring
- Light sensitivities or glare
- Double vision in one eye
- Needing brighter lights
- Frequent eyeglass prescription changes
There are no medications, optical devices, or exercises that can prevent cataracts from developing. However, avoiding direct sunlight can help. Wearing sunglasses that block out UV light rays may slow the progression.
Many people successfully undergo cataract surgery to improve their vision. In this procedure, the surgeon replaces your natural lens with an intraocular lens.
Fortunately, there are very high success rates for cataract surgery, and most people enjoy restored vision and quality of life.
Color blindness affects approximately 0.5% of the female population and up to 8% of the male population.
While color blindness appears to be largely genetic, there are other causes as a result of medical conditions. These include diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Red/green color blindness is the most common deficiency. Someone with this color blindness will mix up all the colors with different shades of red and green.
Like most vision disorders, color blindness problems lie on a spectrum from mild deficiencies to severe problems. In fact, some people with color blindness aren’t even aware they have it!
Treating Color Blindness
Currently, there is no specific, one-size-fits-all treatment for inherited color blindness.
With that said, color filters or contact lenses may help enhance brightness between colors. Some employees may use these to help distinguish colors in the workplace.
For someone with acquired color blindness (due to a medical issue), the problem will typically improve once the issue has been properly treated.
Crossed Eyes (Strabismus)
When someone has crossed eyes, the eyes cannot appropriately align on the same point in time. Like most vision disorders, this issue can cause weakness in the eyes. The weaker eye will reject the object it is supposed to focus on.
This results in the blatant appearance of crossed eyes. We see this condition often in young babies, and like other vision disorders, treating it early is vital. Kids don’t just outgrow cross eyes on their own.
Crossed eyes can be genetic, but they can also result from head trauma or refractive errors.
The most common symptom of crossed eyes is the eyes looking in different directions. However, there are other symptoms to look out for including:
- Eyes not moving together
- Head tilting to one side
- Poor depth perception
- Lacking symmetrical points of reflection
- Frequent squinting in one eye
Treating Crossed Eyes
Fortunately, there are many favorable treatment options for these vision disorders. They include using eyeglasses or contact lenses, patching, or taking eye drops (to temporarily blur vision in the good eye). In some cases, surgery may be considered.
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Lazy eye happens when one eye cannot see properly due to communication issues between that eye and the brain.
This condition only affects one eye, and it can appear “lazy” as a result. Lazy eye can happen due to other preexisting vision disorders, such as refractive errors or crossed eyes.
People usually experience symptoms in childhood before age 6. The earlier it can be diagnosed, the better the case for treatment.
Common symptoms of lazy eye include:
- Significantly favoring/choosing one eye
- Poor vision in the other eye
- Limited depth perception
Treating Lazy Eye
As mentioned, early intervention and treatment are key. For this reason, experts recommend full eye exams at around six months and again at three years old. These help screen out common childhood vision disorders.
Treatment options for lazy eye often include “patching” or covering the strong eye. Doing this helps force the weaker eye to work harder, which naturally strengthens its focus.
Some people may require eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery to realign eye muscles.
Today, glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in America. Glaucoma happens when fluid build-up creates pressure in the eye, resulting in optic nerve damage.
The optic nerve serves as a communication center between your brain and eyes. As a result, damage to this communication can lead to severe problems, such as vision loss and even blindness.
Someone with glaucoma may not exhibit initial symptoms. Similar to other vision disorders, it can be hard to diagnose until the damage is already done. That’s why it’s important to have regular eye exams.
There are several types of glaucoma including:
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
This is the most common glaucoma, and it occurs with pressure build-up in the eye. It often does not have any symptoms, and the exact cause remains unknown. However, many experts believe it happens when the eye cannot properly drain fluid, leading to optic nerve damage.
Unlike Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma, this disorder happens quickly and painfully, often without any warning. It can cause vision loss abruptly, and it occurs when the section between the iris and cornea fails to appropriately drain fluid.
This form of glaucoma shows optic nerve damage. However, the pressure in the eye can be normal or just mildly high. People with this type of glaucoma still experience vision loss.
Similar to other vision disorders, regular eye exams are crucial. These exams can help screen for glaucoma, and like other vision disorders, early detection is your best bet.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available for glaucoma. These include prescription medications, restorative surgery such as CyPass or SLT.
Both these procedures have helped thousands of people with glaucoma.
Eye Floaters or Flashes
Ever see a tiny line, spot, or speck in your field of vision? Even though they may seem like external objects, they are actually your cell shadows.
Most of us experience floaters from time to time, and they are not necessarily a sign of having a medical condition. However, more frequent, severe bursts of light or streaks can be an issue for concern.
As we age, the vitreous gel in our eyes expands and shrinks. This process can create tiny clusters or lumps in the vitreous. As a result, we may see different shadow shapes form in front of our eyes. They look like small floaters.
Eye floaters can be shapes or lines, and they are usually black. They typically go away very quickly. Floaters can happen when there is eye trauma or migraines.
Eye flashes, on the other hand, refer to strong bursts or streaks of light. They can last up to 15-20 minutes, and lines may appear jagged.
Treating Eye Floaters or Flashes
While eye floaters are not necessarily a sign of having a medical problem, it’s important to consult with a professional if flashes occur. Eye flashes can be associated with retinal detachment. This can cause severe and sudden vision loss.
Treatment options may include laser surgery to disrupt the floaters or remove the vitreous.
Ever notice that your eyelid twitches? It’s usually not painful, but it can be irritating. Eyelid twitches don’t necessarily mean something is wrong. In fact, most of the time, it’s pretty normal.
Eyelid twitches occur when our eyelids experience involuntary muscle movements. It’s normal for us to feel these minor twitches (think of it like feeling muscle spasms).
However, extreme cases can happen, with sever twitching that can close your eyelids for several seconds up to many hours. This twitching can impact other muscles in your face.
We often experience twitching due to feeling stressed or tired. Other symptoms include excessive blinking, irritation, and light sensitivity.
Treating Eyelid Twitches
Most cases of eyelid twitches stop on their own. Reducing your stress levels can help. Make sure you are getting enough sleep!
However, other treatment options for more severe cases include facial injections and surgery.
Ocular hypertension occurs when eye pressure exceeds the normal range. Lack of proper drainage of the aqueous humor leads to this disorder. In a nutshell, you have too much fluid in your eye. This condition can lead to glaucoma.
Risk factors for include being over 40, being near-sighted, having diabetes, having a family history of this disorder, or being African-American.
Like other vision disorders, there are no initial symptoms. Detection is basically impossible on your own, so you must schedule routine eye exams.
Treating Ocular Hypertension
As mentioned, this disorder can increase your risk of developing glaucoma. The best treatment option includes having regular preventative screenings by your eye care professionals.
You may also take eye drop medication to lower your intraocular pressure.
Final Thoughts on Vision Disorders
While vision disorders can be prevalent, you don’t have to suffer! Remember, prevention is one of the very best treatment remedies available. Be sure to schedule routine eye exams and talk to your doctor!
Moreover, don’t hesitate to contact your eye care professional at the first sign that something may be interfering with your vision. Waiting until your next routine appointment rolls around could put you at risk and exacerbate the issue. Take precaution now and get it checked out as soon as possible.
At Magruder Eye Institute, we are passionate about providing top quality eye care for all our patients. We pride ourselves on cutting-edge expertise and knowledge in the field.
Are you ready to find a specialist for your vision disorders or individual eye needs? Be sure to contact us today!