Nearsighted, also known as Myopia is the most common cause of people needing vision correction such as glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery. This condition causes you to see well up close but distant objects will seem blurred. This can affect vision for driving, watching tv, seeing the board in class, etc. Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeballs shape is too long. To achieve perfect vision light must focus in the back of the eye, directly on the surface of the retina. With a myopic eye, light rays focus too soon at a point in front of the retina causing vision up close to be clear but distant objects to blur.
Farsighted, also known as Hyperopia is the opposite of nearsightedness. Light rays will focus behind the retina instead of directly on the retina. This causes objects up close to appear blurred but distant objects to be clear. Reading fine print, threading a needle, or using a computer are all examples of activities that a hyperopic eye would experience blurred vision. Hyperopia can affect both adults and children and can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or sometimes laser eye surgery.
Astigmatism, like Myopia and Hyperopia is also caused by light being unable to focus directly onto the retina. Astigmatism is caused when the cornea or lens in the eye is curved. A non-astigmatic eye is shaped like a basketball, round and all edges smooth allowing light to focus directly onto the retina. An astigmatic eye looks similar to the shape of a football causing light rays to focus on two different focal points in the eye. Most cases of astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery.
Presbyopia is the loss of focusing ability of near objects. This condition is most commonly noticed around the age of 40-50. Over time the lens in our eye gradually loses elasticity which causes loss of flexibility of the lens. This explains the common use of reading glasses for older adults. Glasses and contacts may work to correct presbyopia but laser eye surgery is rarely a good option.
The “Eye Twitch” is a common yet annoying phenomenon. These involuntary muscle contractions are almost always harmless and usually temporary. The medical term for this is known as ocular myokymia. The three causes of an involuntary eye twitch are lack of sleep, too much caffeine, or increased stress. In most cases catching some ZZZ’s or gently massaging your eye will relieve the symptoms.
At every visit with your Optometrist you have probably been asked to read a series of letters across the room. This is called visual acuity and is used to measure the eye’s ability to identify letters or symbols at a distance of 20 feet. The result of this measurement is usually given in a fraction such as 20/20 or 20/50. The top number is the distance at which you are seeing in feet, and the bottom number is the distance from which a normal eye should see the letters. Perfect vision is 20/20 so, if your vision is 20/50 this means that what you are seeing at 20 feet what someone with perfect vision would see at a distance of 50 feet.
A person with best corrected central vision acuity is less than 20/200(perfect vision acuity is 20/20) or less in the better eye would be considered legally blind. Whatever the cause of legal blindness, you may be eligible for special government services and assistance.
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, comes in many forms such as viral, bacterial or allergic conjunctivitis. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be extremely contagious. It is important to wash your hands frequently, do not share towels, try avoiding toughing your eyes with your hands, avoid work, school, or any other activities that require contact with people. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Some types of viral conjunctivitis can be treated, others just need to run their course. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and generally causes the eyes to itch. Itchy eyes can be caused by allergies or dry eye. We can check your eyes with a microscope to diagnose and properly treat your eye condition.
A common misconception about sunglasses is that all sunglasses do the same thing. Poor sunglasses that only reduce the amount of glare you are seeing do not block any of the harmful rays that can cause damage to your eyes. Sunglasses that are just for fashion and don’t block 100% of UV rays can be more damaging than wearing no sunglasses. Sunglasses allow your pupils to dilate due to the tint, and this could let in more UV light than if you were wearing no glasses at all. A good pair of sunglasses should block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. They can help prevent certain eye diseases that are related to sun exposure, such as macular degeneration and cataracts. The suns UV rays over time can lead to Cataracts, macular degeneration, or cause pterygium’s or pinguecula’s on the cornea. The use of a good pair of sunglasses can keep your eyes healthier, longer.
A cataract is a cloudiness of the lens inside your eye. In most cases, cataracts are related to aging. The lens in our eyes which is normally clear will become cloudy over time. With the presence of cataracts your vision may be blurry, colors will seem faded, night vision will decrease, and you may be having frequent prescription changes in your glasses or contact lenses. Once a cataract begins interfering with everyday activities such as driving, watching movies or tv, or reading, your eye care professional and yourself may make the decision to have cataract surgery.
Glaucoma is a condition where the pressure of the fluid inside your eye damages your optic nerve. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss and blindness. Early glaucoma has no symptoms. This is one of the many reasons annual eye exams are extremely important. With early detection and treatment of glaucoma you can often protect your eyes from serious vision loss. Once vision is lost from this eye disease, it cannot be restored. There are treatments for glaucoma, to slow down or prevent vision loss, which is why early detection is so important.