Many eye diseases have no symptoms for an extensive period of time. NOMS ophthalmologists are experts at identifying eye issues ranging from vision loss to identification, treatment and prevention of eye diseases. A thorough exam may also identify other health concerns including diabetes and high blood pressure.
Very common and primarily hereditary, astigmatism is a flaw in the curvature of the cornea or lens in the eye. Normally, the cornea and lens are smooth and curved equally in all directions to focus light rays sharply onto the retina. When the curvature is irregular curvature the result is generally, blurred or distorted vision at near and far distances.
The lens in the eye that curves to refract light is naturally clear. When a cataract is present, the lens is clouded resulting in a blurry or hazy view of the world. Other symptoms include heightened light sensitivity, double vision, difficulty seeing at night, seeing bright colors as a yellow or faded. Most cataracts are related to natural aging which begins in the 40s. Cataracts however, can also be resultant of medical problems, injuries, radiation treatments, abundant UV ray exposure, and certain medications.
More commonly known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis occurs when the (conjunctiva) the white part of the eyeball and the inner eye lid are irritated by a bacterial or viral infection, allergy, or other irritant. Viral and bacterial pink eye are highly contagious and spread through direct contact with the eye by hands or contaminated items. They are also airborne, spreading through respiratory droplets. Symptoms may include red or pink eyes, crust formation making it difficult to open the eyes upon waking, watery eyes, extreme itchiness, and a gritty sensation when blinking.
Also known as diabetic retinopathy, it is a complication of diabetes affecting the eyes. It is recommended that diabetics have annual dilated exams to monitor for early otherwise-undetectable changes. Initially there may be no symptoms, but eventually the disease can result in blindness. Symptoms can be weakened color vision, seeing floating spots or dark threads, blurred vision, and vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when there are changes to the blood vessels in lining at the back of the eye called the retina. It is responsible for changing light into images. When the blood vessels swell, leak fluid, or bleed, it can lead to impaired vision or blindness in both eyes. It is the most common cause of vision loss in diabetics and is the number one cause of blindness in American adults. Symptoms can include seeing small spots (“floaters”), blurry vision, inability to see color properly, and loss of central vision which is necessary to read or drive.
Tears are essential to healthy, comfortable eyes. When tears are insufficient or aren’t the right type of tear film, the term applied is dry eye. Tears are a film that acts to keep an eye’s surface clear and smooth and is key to good vision. Under normal circumstances, the eyes are constantly creating tears to remain moist. When that’s not the case, symptoms may include, stinging or burning, mucous in or around the eyes, a scratchy sensation, and red irritated eyes. With normal aging and changes in hormones, people tend to make fewer tears. However, there may be other factors at play including certain diseases of the body, eye conditions, surgery, medicines, allergies, and prolonged activities that reduce blinking like using a computer or other digital screen, and reading.
Anytime, a foreign object, chemical, burn or injury affects the eye, medical attention should be sought. This is especially true if there is swelling, redness or pain present in or around the eye.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve fibers. Risk of damage is caused by an increase or lack of drainage with intraocular fluid. It is the number one cause of blindness in those over 60. Damage to the optic nerve can’t be repaired.
Keratoconus happens when the clear, dome-shaped front surface of the eye, the cornea, thins and eventually bulges outward into a conical shape. This results in blurred vision and light sensitivity and glare. In the early stages it may be correctable with glasses or soft contact lenses. Eventually, other special contact lenses may be required. In worst cases, a cornea transplant may be the recommended course of action.
Also known as amblyopia, lazy eye is the lessened vision in one eye caused by abnormal visual development in early childhood, generally from birth to 7 years. The weaker eye often wanders inward or outward. The weaker eye may be corrected with eye glasses, contact lenses or patching therapy.
Deterioration of the central area of the retina (the inside back layer of the eye), macular degeneration damages the messaging that allows the brain to see images correctly. This central portion of the retina is called the macula; it is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls the ability to recognize faces or colors, see fine detail, and read or drive a car.
An urgent condition, retinal detachment occurs when the retina (thin lining at the back of the eye) pulls away from its normal location. Oxygen- and nourishment-providing blood vessels are separated from the retinal cells. Left untreated, there is a great risk of permanent vision loss. Symptoms may be sudden appearance of flashes, floaters or a curtain or veil over the vision from any direction.
Visual impairment is a term that covers any kind of vision loss, from minor to acute loss including blindness.
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