A: People who have myopia, or nearsightedness, have problems seeing objects clearly in the distance while people who have hyperopia, or farsightedness, have difficulty focusing on objects up close. Both of these conditions can be treated by wearing eyeglasses, contact lenses or, in some cases, through refractive eye surgery.
A: Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at distance and near. Astigmatism is a very common vision condition. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don’t affect vision and don’t require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches. The specific cause of astigmatism is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can change as a child grows and may decrease or worsen over time. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for astigmatism. Depending on the amount present, your optometrist can provide eyeglasses or contact lenses that correct the astigmatism by altering the way light enters your eyes.
A: Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects. Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented. Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia. To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs. Because the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eyewear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision.
A: A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon its size and location, it can interfere with normal vision. Most cataracts develop in people over age 55, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts generally form very slowly. Signs and symptoms of a cataract may include: blurred or hazy vision, reduced intensity of colors, increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night, increased difficulty seeing at night and a change in the eye’s prescription. When a cataract progresses to the point that it affects a person’s ability to do normal everyday tasks, surgery may be needed. Through a comprehensive eye examination your optometrist can determine if you have cataracts and advise you on options for treatment.
A: Glaucoma is characterized by loss of nerve tissue resulting in loss of vision. The optic nerve is a bundle of about one million individual nerve fibers that transmit the visual signals from the eye to the brain. The most common form of glaucoma is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. Not everyone with high eye pressure will develop glaucoma, and many people with normal eye pressure will develop glaucoma. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma. Other risk factors include thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation and using medications that increase the pressure in the eyes. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms. Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred. It initially affects peripheral or side vision, but can advance to central vision loss. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to significant loss of vision in both eyes, and may even lead to blindness. Glaucoma cannot currently be prevented, but if diagnosed and treated early it can usually be controlled. Glaucoma is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination.