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Learn about Common Eye Conditions from Optometrists’ Clinic

Below are descriptions of various – and serious – eye diseases and injuries. If you are exhibiting any of the symptoms described here, do not wait – contact us to make an appointment.


Cataracts:
As we age, the lens within the eye can become yellowed or cloudy. It is also common in diseases like diabetes or can be caused by certain medications. Cataracts tend to obscure vision much like a dirty windshield on a car. For most, it is a natural part of the aging process and is correctable.

Macular Degeneration:
Behind the retina there is another tissue layer which is partly responsible for feeding the retina. Over time this layer can weaken and develop holes and cracks which starves the portions of the retina directly in front of it. This starved retina eventually loses its sensitivity to light and central vision slowly deteriorates. This is known as the “dry form” of macular degeneration. As time goes on, weak blood vessels grow through these cracks and bleed, causing large areas of scarring in the retina. This is known as the “wet form” of macular degeneration. Genetics, age, nutrition, smoking and exposure to the sun may cause this condition.

Glaucoma:
Inside our eyes, there is an amount of built up pressure to keep the eye’s shape, much like air pressure within a balloon. Occasionally, the pressure builds up as a result of increased fluid production or decreased drainage within the eye. Over time, the elevated pressure can cause irreversible damage to the fragile nerve and retinal fibres. This results in a slow progressive and permanent loss of vision. Early detection and treatment can slow or possibly stop the disease.

Retinal Detachment:
The retina is a thin tissue layer that can develop holes or even tears from numerous causes. These gaps allow fluid to seep underneath and separate the retina from the rest of the eye much like wallpaper peeling off a damp wall. When the retina has detached, vision is lost.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment:
PVD occurs in most individuals over the age of 65. As we age, the gelatinous vitreous loses its consistency so that the central core becomes more liquid and the outer layers peel from the retina. This does not cause vision loss.

Diabetic Eye Disease:
Increased blood sugars affect the blood circulation system in the eye, causing blood vessels to weaken and leak. This leads to swelling of the retina which causes loss of vision. Other conditions more likely to develop as a result of diabetes include cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachments.

Dry Eye:
The tear film is responsible for keeping the eye’s surface well lubricated. Inconsistencies or insufficiencies within the tear film can cause symptoms such as stinging, burning and scratchiness.

Blepharitis:
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids usually caused by blocked oil glands that lie within the eyelids. Severe cases can result in bacterial infections, styes, corneal inflammation (keratitis) and conjunctivitis.

Pink Eye:
This is caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the conjunctiva (the layer above the white of the eye or sclera). Viral infections are usually associated with a cold or sore throat. Bacterial conjunctivitis varies in severity which is dependent on the type of bacteria involved. Bacteria most often involved are staphylococcus and streptococcus (staph and strep).

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