A brief explanation of common eye diseases can be found below. Click on each link to get a more detailed description.
Pink eye , also called conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin, clear membrane that envelops the surface of the eye and the underside of the eyelids. Pink eye is very common. Fortunately, it usually is not serious and goes away in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment.
Symptoms can include redness, itchiness, watering and mucous discharge. Causes include allergies and bacterial and viral infection.
Corneal transplantation, or keratoplasty, is recommended for severe corneal curvature or to repair extensive damage resulting from disease, infection or injury. The damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy one from a donor.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that weakens the blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause blurred or cloudy vision, floaters, blind spots and eventually, blindness. This damage is irreversible.
Most of the time, there are no symptoms of diabetic retinopathy until it starts to change your vision. When this happens, diabetic retinopathy is already severe.
The proliferative form is characterized by the proliferation of abnormal blood vessels which often bleed and cause scar tissue.
The non-proliferative from is characterized by leaking from the damaged areas of normal blood vessels. The leaking causes swelling and loss of vision.
Dry eye , or aqueous tear deficiency, occurs when the eye does not produce tears properly, or when the tears are not of the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. In addition to being uncomfortable, dry eye can damage eye tissue, scar the cornea and impair vision. Permanent loss of vision from dry eye is uncommon.
Symptoms include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation, the feeling of something foreign in your eyes, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind, excess tearing, discomfort when wearing contact lenses or blurred vision.
Excess tearing from dry eye may sound illogical, but it can be understood as the eye’s response to discomfort. If the tears responsible for maintaining lubrication do not keep the eye wet enough, the eye becomes irritated. Eye irritation prompts the gland that makes tears to release a large volume of tears, overwhelming the tear drainage system. These excess tears then overflow from your eye.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the eyes that result in optic nerve damage. Increased fluid build-up inside the eye (increased intraocular pressure) is an important risk factor for the development of glaucoma. The optic nerve acts as a channel to relay messages to the brain. As the optic nerve deteriorates, you will begin to lose peripheral (side) vision first.
Amazingly, often at least 50% of the optic nerve is damaged before any vision is lost at all. By the time a person notices vision loss, often over 90% of optic nerve damage has occurred! In fact, some people are legally blind before they ever seek medical attention.
Macular degeneration occurs in two forms: dry and wet. The “dry” form of macular degeneration occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As the dry form gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the affected eye.
The “wet” form occurs when fluid starts to collect behind the retina under the macula. Sometimes new blood vessels start growing in these areas. These blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye. The blood causes scar tissue to grow producing irreparable damage. With the wet form, loss of central vision can occur quickly. It does not have stages like the “dry” form. Overall symptoms include a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, a gradual loss of color vision, distorted vision or a dark or an empty area appearing in the center of vision.
Problems with the retina and vitreous can lead to vision loss and blindness. Surgery can correct problems before vision is lost or prevent further deterioration from occurring.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Strabismus , more commonly known as cross-eyed or wall-eyed, is a vision condition in which a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. One or both of the eyes may turn in, out, up or down. An eye turn may be constant (when the eye turns all of the time) or intermittent (turning only some of the time such as under stressful conditions or during illness). Whether constant or intermittent, strabismus always requires appropriate evaluation and treatment. Children do not outgrow strabismus.