Many eye problems do not have obvious symptoms. Changes in vision are often so gradual that you unconsciously adjust to your sight without realizing your vision has changed. You may think you are seeing as well as you were a year ago and don’t have problems, but you can't be sure until you've had your eyes thoroughly examined.
When your eyes turn red, it can be the result of any number of causes - both mild and serious in nature. Often, redness in the eyes is just a temporary annoyance, but there are times when it can be the result of a serious problem. The whites of your eyes can appear red due to infections, allergic reactions, environmental irritants, medications or more serious eye problems. Any redness in your eyes that doesn't have an obvious cause or can't be resolved easily should be reported to us right away.
Many people suffer from dry eye syndrome – making eyes feel dry, scratchy and irritable. Other symptoms are blurred vision and increased watering. Excessive dry eyes can damage eye tissue and scar the cornea, impairing vision. It is particularly annoying to contact lens wearers.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition which is normally caused by a shortage of natural tears. Dry eyes are normally treated by the use of 'artificial tears', but now punctal plugs, which close the tear drainage ducts with plugs to help your natural tears bathe your eyes, offer a long-term solution.
Spots and Floaters
Many people have experienced seeing tiny specks or shadows in their field of vision. These specks, called floaters or spots are caused by small particles that form in the fluid inside the eyeball. Floaters are usually small and seem to follow the motion of the eye, appearing in the field of vision no matter what a person is looking at.
Generally floaters are harmless. However, sometimes floaters can indicate other, more serious medical conditions. For example, floaters may result from an inflammation of the eye, bleeding in the eye, or a torn retina. Call EyeTech Optometry immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms.
More than half the people over age 65 have some degree of cataract development. Indicators that you may have cataracts include:
When symptoms begin to appear, an adjustment to your corrective prescription may improve vision for a while. When poor vision threatens your enjoyment of life or your ability to maintain an independent lifestyle, you should consider cataract removal. Cataract surgery is not only the most frequently performed procedure in the United States, it is also one of the most successful.
More than 50,000 Americans develop glaucoma each year. Glaucoma is sometimes referred to as the "Silent Thief of Sight" because it can strike without obvious symptoms. Until serious vision loss is encountered, a person with glaucoma is usually unaware that he/she has the vision destroying disease. In fact, half of those suffering from glaucoma don't even know they have it - and the damage is irreversible.
Glaucoma occurs when excessive fluid accumulates within the eye and causes pressure to build. The increased blood pressure hampers eye flow to the optic nerve causing vision loss and eventual blindness. Eyedrops, oral medication or laser correction are some treatments for glaucoma; however the damage cannot be reversed. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma are the only ways to prevent vision impairment and blindness.
Macular Degeneration is a condition where central vision begins to decline due to the degeneration of the macula, usually with age. In fact, eighty percent of vision loss in our senior population is caused by macular degeneration, commonly called “low vision”. Dr Ward can also recommend nutritional and other preventative measures to reduce the probability of you or other family members being affected by this disease.
Diabetes and its complications can cause changes in changes in vision, glaucoma, cataracts, loss of muscle coordination, and decrease corneal sensitivity. As a diabetic, or person with a family history of the disease, seeing your optometrist is as important as visiting your physician regularly.
Diabetes can also weaken the small blood vessels that nourish the retina. When these blood vessels begin to leak or become enlarged, the condition is called diabetic retinopathy. Early detection and treatment is important as diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. With an instrument that allows direct viewing of the blood vessels inside the eye, Dr. Ward can diagnose diabetic retinopathy into its earliest stages, when treatment is most effective.
How the eye works
The cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) and the lens of the eye (the transparent structure inside the eye) focus light onto a layer at the back of the eye known as the retina. The cornea and lens focus light rays entering the eye such that images appear clearly on the retina, which in turn transmits these images to the brain for processing. When images focus perfectly on the retina, the result is 20/20 vision.
Near Sighted (Myopia)
When the cornea is too curved relative to the length of the eye, light rays focus in front of the retina causing blurry distance vision and clear up close vision. Myopia is usually diagnosed in children, may worsen as the child matures, but generally stabilizes in the late teens or early twenties. Myopia is treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Once the eye stabilizes, vision correction procedures can change the shape of the cornea to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.
Far Sighted (Hyperopia)
When the cornea is too flat relative to the length of the eye, light rays focus behind the retina causing blurry vision up close and clear vision far away. Hyperopia is treated with contacts or glasses. There are also vision correction procedures that can reduce or eliminate hyperopia.
Presbyopia begins affecting people in their early to mid-40's. The condition occurs when the lens of the eye becomes less flexible, making it difficult to focus on small print. Presbyopia is easily corrected by glasses or contact lenses and there are a number of options available.
When the cornea is shaped more like a football than a basketball, it causes distortion and blurry vision as light enters the eye. When this condition is coupled with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), light focuses on more than one point of the retina. Astigmatism is treated with contact lenses or eyeglasses. There are also vision correction procedures available to treat astigmatism as well.