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Over a lifetime, it is possible to develop a wide variety of eye diseases. This is why it is important to get routine screening eye exams. Additionally, anytime you realize that your vision has changed, you need to get your eyes checked right away. A slight change can be the sign of a significant problem, and sometimes you may not notice a problem until it is advanced. Most eye conditions will not resolve on their own, and you may need an eye procedure to restore your sight to what it used to be.

Common eye problems and their causes

Most common eye diseases can be detected during a routine eye evaluation, and it is important to obtain yearly follow ups to detect any treatable conditions. The following are some of the more common eye issues that you may face:

Red eyes

Red eyes can occur with or without other symptoms such as irritation. There are many causes of red eyes to include infection, dry eyes, lack of rest, inflammation, injury, and allergies, to name a few causes. You will need to see a doctor to ensure you get treatment.

Night Blindness

When you are suffering from night blindness, you will have trouble seeing at night, especially when driving at night. This can be a symptom of other diseases such as cataracts, retinal problems, or even nearsightedness. If you have been born with this night blindness, it might be due to a degenerative disease. If you go to an optometrist or ophthalmologist, they will determine what is wrong with your eyes and get you the most suitable treatment.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. The cloudy lens will cause blurred and dim vision by hindering light from passing through. In most cases, cataracts are due to aging, but there are other causes of cataracts that present earlier in life, such as medication-induced, inherited (hereditary) cataracts, cataracts due to systemic disease, and cataracts due to trauma. However, most form slowly, and it might take years for you to notice them. Your doctor will most likely recommend surgery to remove cataracts.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases, and it has many different causes. It is treated by lowering the eye pressure with medications or surgery. If glaucoma is untreated, eye pressures are likely to damage your optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss. If you have secondary glaucoma, or glaucoma due to an underlying condition, the underlying condition needs to be treated as well to prevent any other long term eye damage.

Lazy Eyes

Lazy eyes, or strabismus, occurs when one or both eyes do not look straight. This can happen due to one eye having worse vision at birth or due to other eye problems such as nerve or muscle abnormalities, anatomic abnormalities, trauma, or neurological diseases, to name a few causes. Strabismus is most common in infants and children but can also develop in adulthood. If it is treated early in infants and young children, it can often be improved or even reversed. In children, strabismus can cause lifelong problems if it is not treated immediately. Sometimes adult onset strabismus is a sign of an emergency, so it needs to be evaluated right away. Options for treatment can include treatment of the underlying problem and glasses and/or surgery.

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is an umbrella term to describe several conditions affecting the macula that result in loss of central vision. The macula is located in the center of the retina and is responsible for central vision, reading, and discrimination of fine print. There are many types of macular degeneration, of which age-related macular degeneration is the most common. If you have macular degeneration, you need to have regular follow ups to detect any progression of your disease. Your doctor is likely to recommend AREDS vitamins, lifestyle-related changes such as smoking cessation, and possibly eye injections if there is advanced disease.

Uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle, blood rich layer of the eye. Many conditions can lead to inflammation of this layer, or uveitis, which can damage the tissues of the eye if left untreated. Different types of uveitis can affect patients of all ages. While sometimes there are minimal symptoms, some symptoms to watch out for include new onset of blurred vision, redness, pain, and sensitivity to light. It is essential to see a doctor if you notice that these symptoms do not resolve or if symptoms recur repeatedly. Uveitis comes in different forms, and there are also various treatments depending on the type you are suffering from.

In summary, most eye diseases are detected and treated during routine eye exams. In addition to routine eye exams, it is also important to get your eyes checked anytime you notice any changes in vision or other eye problems. This will ensure that any problem is detected early, and you can get the treatment you need to quickly correct any problems.

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About the Author Written by Dr. Michael Shumski, M.D., M.S.E.

Dr. Shumski is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract & refractive surgery at Magruder Laser Vision in central Florida.

In service for many years to treat cataract patients

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