Common vision problems include nearsightedness, farsightedness, glaucoma, astigmatism and cataracts. Seeking the care of qualified eye care professionals, such as ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians who can determine the need for glasses, contacts or laser eye surgery can ensure that these issues are treated properly and helps maximize positive outcomes.
Below is an overview containing basic descriptions of the most commonly occurring vision problems. If you suspect you have one or more of these conditions, contact an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or optician to learn about the treatment options that will most improve your vision.
Nearsightedness: is a refractive error of the eye, in which objects in the distance appear blurred. It occurs because light entering the eye is focused incorrectly. Individuals who have nearsightedness have difficulty focusing on distant objects. In many cases, nearsightedness, also called myopia, is first noticed in childhood. Students who have difficulty reading the chalkboard, but who do not struggle with book reading may be nearsighted. Other symptoms include eye strain and headaches. The visual acuity problem continues to develop during adolescence, but is usually stabilized by the twenties.
Treatments for nearsightedness are glasses, contacts, or laser eye surgery, such as Lasik. Most people with nearsightedness have successful outcomes from laser surgery, in which the cornea is reshaped to correct the way the eye focusing incoming light. Factors such as age and health must be considered before undergoing any type of laser eye surgery. Consulting an ophthalmologist or optometrist is the best first step.
Farsightedness: is a refractive error of the eye, in which objects appear blurred at close range. It occurs because the visual image is focused behind the retina, instead of directly on it. Some people with farsightedness, which is also called hyperopia, have eyeballs that are too small. Insufficient focusing power can also cause farsightedness.
Individuals who have farsightedness have difficulty focusing on close objects, such as the words on a page. In many cases, children are born with the condition but the flexibility of their eyes allows them to compensate. With age, treatments often become necessary as symptoms such as eye strain, aching behind the eyes, and headaches while reading become worse.
Treatments for farsightedness are glasses, contacts, or laser eye surgery, such as Lasik. Most people with farsightedness have successful outcomes from laser surgery, too. Factors such as age and health must be considered before undergoing any type of laser eye surgery. Consulting an ophthalmologist or optometrist is the best first step.
Astigmatism: is a refractive error of the eye, in which objects appear blurred and there is difficulty focusing on fine details. People who have astigmatism have an abnormally curved cornea, which causes the vision to be out of focus. The condition is quite common and is usually present from birth, although the specific cause is not known. Astigmatism frequently occurs in conjunction with other vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
The main symptom of astigmatism is a difficulty focusing on fine details, either up close, far away or both. Treatment is typically eye glasses, contact lenses specifically for astigmatism, or laser eye surgery. Consulting with an ophthalmologist or optometrist is the best way to learn the treatment options that will be the most effective for a specific astigmatism.
Glaucoma: refers to several variations of an eye condition that ultimately results in damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a serious problem and is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. There are four types of glaucoma, but they all involve an increase in pressure within the eye. This pressure is ultimately what causes the damage to the optic nerve.
Symptoms of glaucoma vary depending on the type. They may include a gradual loss of vision, tunnel vision, severe eye pain, cloudy vision, floaters and halos, and redness or swelling of the eye.
In treating glaucoma, the goal is to reduce the pressure in the eye and eliminate possible damage to the optic nerve. Depending on the specific type of glaucoma, the patient’s age and overall health, and other factors, treatments may involve medication or surgery.
Regular appointments with an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist can play a key role in the successful management and treatment of glaucoma eye problems.
Cataracts: are a clouding over of the lens of the eye. The National Institutes of Health estimate that more than half of Americans over the age of eighty have cataracts or have had cataract treatments. Indicators that a person may have cataracts include, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty seeing at night, frequent changes to corrective lenses, and problems with glare.
Cataracts impair vision so it is important to be screened for this visual impairment and to seek treatments promptly. Initially, it may be possible to delay the formation of cataracts, because they typically develop slowly over time. Getting new glasses, using magnifying lenses and making sure to be in places with adequate light can all help to delay the progression of cataracts. Blocking out sunlight and harmful UV rays can also help.
Cataracts can be treated successfully with eye surgery. The clouded lens of the eye is removed and it is replaced with an artificial lens. Consulting with an ophthalmologist or optometrist is the best way to learn about the course of treatments and prevention for each individual.