Managing Ocular Diseases & Disorders
Don’t Let Ocular Diseases & Disorders Affect Your Vision
Ocular diseases and disorders can affect anyone, regardless of hereditary predisposition, age, vision history or family medical history. If left untreated or undiagnosed, most ocular diseases and disorders can negatively affect your vision and, in severe cases, cause irreversible blindness. By learning about common ocular diseases and disorders—including who is at risk and common symptoms—you can work with your optometrist to safeguard your vision from the damages and effects of these diseases.
If you have been diagnosed with ocular disease or disorder or have concerns about the health of your vision, our team of extensively trained optometrists are here to provide the highest standard of comprehensive vision care.
Common Diseases & Disorders
At some point in your life, you will develop a cataract; they are a natural part of the aging process. A cataract is a clouding of the clear lens in your eye that helps you see images clearly. Cataracts can make your vision appear foggy, as if you were looking through a fogged-up window. As cataracts progress, they can impact your vision and require surgery. Learn more about cataracts and cataract surgery.
Dry Eye occurs when your eye’s natural tears are unable to provide adequate moisture for your eye. Dry Eye can cause discomfort as the eye becomes dry, red and inflamed. While over-the-counter lubricating drops can provide some relief, we recommend seeing an eye doctor to ensure severe damage isn’t done to the eye.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve in the eye, which can cause vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is a hereditary ocular disease, which means that family history of glaucoma can indicate a higher risk for the ocular disease. Glaucoma is also more common among African Americans and Hispanics. When left untreated, glaucoma can cause near to total blindness. For these reasons, it’s important to understand your family’s history of health concerns. Learn more about glaucoma and surgical treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy involves progressive damage to the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye. Without proper disease management and regular eye exams from an optometrist, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness in American adults, and it’s estimated that 50% of patients with diabetes are not receiving regular eye exams.
Refractive errors are some of the most common ocular disorders present in the population. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia are common examples of refractive errors. Adults experiencing issues with seeing up-close objects, far-away objects, or blurry objects should consult with their optometrist. Most children, on the other hand, will not be able to self-diagnose and should see a pediatric ophthalmologist as early as 5 years of age.
How do we correct refractive errors?
6 Types of Refractive Errors
Occurs when the cornea is too steep or the eyeball is too long. Images of distant objects are blurred, but close objects are clear.
Results when the cornea is too flat or the eyeball is too short, causing near objects to appear blurred. Some farsighted people cannot focus on distant or near objects.
Occurs when the curvature of the cornea is uneven and is shaped more like a football than a baseball. This creates multiple focal points in the eye, making it difficult to focus on objects clearly.
A natural result of the aging process that begins around the age of 40. Our eye’s natural lens loses elasticity, near objects appear blurry, and tasks like reading and seeing up close objects become increasingly difficult.
Often referred to as “lazy eye”, amblyopia is a condition that describes when one eye no longer functions. The eye itself looks normal but it is not being used by the brain. Amblyopia is a common vision impairment among children.
Strabismus results in an imbalance in the positioning of your eyes. One eye can cross in or turn out. Strabismus is caused by a lack of coordination between the eyes and can lead to your eyes looking in different directions and unable to focus together on a single point. Learn more about strabismus.
How to Detect An Ocular Disease
The best way to determine if you are at risk of developing an ocular disease is by seeing your optometrist or local eye doctor on a regular basis. Your optometrist can determine if you are at risk of developing hereditary eye diseases and detect ocular diseases in the early stages, minimizing the damage to your vision.
However, we understand that there are instances when seeing an eye doctor regularly is not possible. Here are some common vision problems to be aware of that may be a sign of eye disease and that warrant an appointment with your optometrist.
If you are experiencing blurred vision, this could be an early sign of eye disease. Common vision problems that cause blurred vision include cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal disease, and diabetic retinopathy. Changes to your refractive error (i.e. changes to the severity of your nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia) over time can also cause blurred vision and will require the assistance of one of our optometrists.
Having eye pain can be uncomfortable and often is resolved on its own. However, experiencing prolonged eye pain or severe eye pain can be a sign of several serious conditions, including glaucoma, optic neuritis, iritis, or corneal abrasion. It’s also important to note that any sudden change in your vision in addition to eye pain should be addressed immediately by your eye doctor.
Extremely Dry or Extremely Water Eye
Changes to the natural lubrication of your eye can be a sign of corneal issues or dry eye. Sometimes, simple over-the-counter drops or artificial tears can relieve these symptoms, but they do not address the root of the problem. When you experience a change in how lubricated your eyes feel, we highly recommend coming in to see one of our optometrists who can accurately diagnose your vision problem and develop a treatment plan that will minimize discomfort and prevent long-term damage to the cornea.