Some of the most common eye issues include:
1. Errors of Refraction
The most common eye problems encountered by doctors are errors of refraction, which include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (distorted vision). Nearsightedness is by far the most common of the three, and with increasing numbers of people suffering from it — 40% of the population today as opposed to 25% in the 1970s — it is becoming increasingly evident that environment and activity play a large part in causing these problems.
2. Cataracts and Presbyopia
Cataracts are caused by a loss of clarity in the lens of the eye. As we age, many people develop a condition known as presbyopia, a difficulty or outright inability to focus on nearby objects, as the lens hardens and loses suppleness. As the aging process advances, the hardened lens may develop cataracts, areas where the eye lens is no longer as clear.
While many people will develop cataracts naturally as they age, certain conditions, such as diabetes, certain medications, and eye injuries can also predispose people to cataract formation.
3. Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels in the retinas of people with diabetes. Left untreated, it can lead to reduced eyesight and even blindness — it is, in fact, the most common cause of blindness in the United States. A long history of uncontrolled high blood sugar levels is the avowed cause of diabetic retinopathy, and is the most common eye disease in people with diabetes.
4. Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of, or inability to produce, quality tears to keep the eye nourished and lubricated. This results in blurred vision, soreness, and even a burning sensation. While people can develop chronic dry eye as a result of the aging process, gender, medical conditions, and certain medications can all cause the condition, too.
Glaucoma is a collective term for diseases of the optic nerve. Age, family history, and genetic predisposition are the primary causes. Advanced cases of glaucoma can result in loss of vision and blindness; early detection and treatment is the biggest factor in preventing serious damage to your eyes.
Dry eye is a mild condition but it can often lead to complications. Get a closer look at dry eye in Part 2 of this blog series.