COMMON EYE PROBLEMS
Dry eyes happen when tear glands cannot make enough tears or produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning or rarely, some loss of vision.
Your doctor or eye specialist may suggest using a humidifier in your home, special eye drops that simulate real tears, or plugs that are placed in tear ducts to decrease tear drainage. Surgery may be needed in more serious cases of dry eyes.
Tearing or having too many tears can come from being sensitive to light, wind or temperature changes. Protecting your eyes by shielding them or wearing sunglasses can sometimes solve the problem.
Tearing may also mean that you have a more serious problem, such as an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. Your doctor or eye specialist can offer advice about treatment for these conditions.
Floaters are tiny spots or specks that float across the field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters are often considered normal, but can sometimes indicate a more serious eye problem.
These include conditions such as a retinal detachment, especially if floaters are accompanied by light flashes, or any reduction in your field of vision, like a curtain falling over the eye.
If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes you see, seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop within the eye lens. Since the lens in a healthy eye is clear like a camera lens, light has no problem passing through the lens to the back of the eye to the retina where images are processed.
When a cataract is present, the light cannot get through the lens as easily and, as a result, vision can be impaired. Cataracts often form slowly, causing no pain, redness or tearing in the eye.
Cataracts can sometimes stay small and do not alter eyesight. If they become large or thick and affect vision, cataracts can usually be treated with surgery to replace the lens.
Glaucoma in it’s most common form can often mean there may be no symptoms of this eye problem at all until the disease is very advanced and there is significant vision loss. In the less common form of this eye problem, symptoms can include headaches, eye aches or pain, blurred vision, watering eyes, halos round lights and loss of vision.
Glaucoma is very easily treatable often with a simple eye drop and is one of the most preventable causes of vision loss if caught early.
Unfortunately if Glaucoma is not diagnosed and treated irreversible vision loss can occur which is why it is important to have sight tests at regular intervals.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye.
Although it almost never causes complete blindness, age-related macular degeneration can be a source of significant vision loss.
Macular degeneration in it’s early stages may not have any symptoms and therefore may not be recognised until it progresses or affects both eyes. The main symptom of macular degeneration is blurring of central vision. This may progress to a gradual loss of central vision.
Macular degeneration symptoms can include;
- Straight lines appearing distorted (wavy), or the centre of vision becoming distorted.
- Dark, blurry areas or blind spots appearing in the centre of vision.
- Diminished or altered colour perception.
- Difficulty recognising people’s faces, reading text or seeing television clearly.
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical advice from your Optometrists as soon as possible.
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