Astigmatism is a common condition that occurs where there is a curvature of the eye’s cornea or crystalline lens. With an astigmatism, vision becomes blurry at any distance - near or far. A common misconception is that an astigmatism requires a gas permeable (hard) lens, but gas permeable, hybrid, and soft contact lenses are all able to successfully correct an astigmatism.
Hyperopia - Farsighted
Hyperopia is also known as farsightedness, where distance vision is clear, but objects are blurry up close. A “plus lens” allows a clear image to be seen at any distance.
Myopia - Nearsighted
Myopia is also known as nearsightedness, where distance vision is blurry or out-of-focus. If you find yourself squinting or you literally have “your nose stuck in a book,” you might be nearsighted. Fortunately, a simple correction using a “minus lens” allows light rays to be properly focused producing a clear, sharp image.
Presbyopia is the lack of ability to bring near objects into focus as a result of normal age-related changes in the crystalline lens located behind the pupil of the eye. Most people will become aware of this difficulty around the age of forty. The crystalline lens loses flexibility over time and can no longer focus as clearly on closer items. A “plus lens” is used to correct presbyopia.
Cataracts develop when the crystalline lens becomes increasingly opaque, decreasing visual clarity and contrast, like covering a magnifying glass with wax paper. Cataracts can be removed with surgery and the solid lens is replaced with a clear, artificial lens. There are several classifications of cataracts, including:
Congenital: Present at birth
Hypermature: The lens has become either solid, or shrunken and liquefied
Incipient: Any cataract in its early stages
Mature: The lens is completely opaque
Senile: A hard opacity of the lens occurring with increase in age
Traumatic: Lens becomes opaque due to injury
Glaucoma is vision loss caused by damage to the optic nerve, which acts like an electric cable, sending images to the brain. Reduced vision often begins at the periphery of your vision, and moves towards the center. Pressure inside the eye often increases in a patient with glaucoma. This is closely monitored, along with the health of the optic nerve. There is no cure for glaucoma yet, but treatment is available and early detection is helpful in preserving vision. Some risk factors include:
Individuals over 65 years of age
Family history of glaucoma
African-Americans over 40 years of age
Past serious eye injury
Macular degeneration affects both central and color vision. There are two forms of macular degeneration. The wet form, affects one in ten patients and is a more severe form of degeneration. The dry form, which is the thinning of the macular tissue, affects nine out of ten patients. Macular degeneration increases greatly with age. Risk factors include:
Vitreous degeneration is a natural process where flashes of light or “floaters” come across your vision field occasionally. If “flashes and floaters” become a regular occurrence or increase, a retinal evaluation is needed to rule out retinal tears or detachment.
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