Common Eye Conditions
Common Eye Conditions

Amblyopia

Abnormal visual development can cause the brain to favour the more dominant eye. This can cause poor depth perception or eyes that seem to wander or not work well together. The treatment for amblyopia is usually most effective if started before the age of 7 years.

What to look out for: cross-eyes, eye misalignment

Astigmatism

A refractive error (not a disease) and is quite common. When the front of the eye (cornea) or the crystalline lens (behind the pupil, inside the eye) is not round, but more oval shaped, the light that enters the eye falls on two focal points in the retina, rather than one. This prevents light from travelling through the eye clearly, causing blurry vision in both long and short distances.

Common signs: Blurred vision in both long and short distances, possible double vision, eye strain and headaches.

Blepharitis

Red and swollen eye lids, usually around the edges. It can be caused by an infection, inflammation, or skin conditions such as seborrhoeic dermatitis or rosacea. It's not serious, but if untreated can lead to further problems.

Symptoms include itchy and sore eyelids, crusty eyelashes, difficulty to open eyelids because they stick together.

To help alleviate the symptoms, a daily eyelid-cleaning routine of gently massaging your eyelids and wiping away any crusts with medicated wipes and warm compress, is recommended. Antibiotics treatments may be required for more severe cases.

Cataracts

The lens in the eye that is normally clear, can harden or become cloudy with natural ageing or trauma. As the light can no longer travel cleanly through the lens, it can cause a blurring, “yellowing” or “frosting” effect on vision.

Signs to lookout for: Lights that have a halo-effect or seem dazzling, colours seeming dull, faded or yellowed, trouble seeing in low light.

Chalazion

A painless swelling or lump in the eyelid. It is caused by blocked oil glands in the eyelids. It may look alarming, however it's not serious and painless. It usually will disappear on its own.

In rare cases, if it's caused by an infection, the swelling may look red and feel painful. In this case, please contact your optometrist for immediate treatment.

Cloudy Vision

Cloudy vision causes objects to appear 'milky', like having an opaque glass in your eyes.

Symptoms may include blurred or double vision, dry eyes, the appearance of halos around lights, light sensitivity, watery eyes, red eyes, difficulty seeing at night.

The most common cause is cataracts. It can also be caused by diabetes or macular degeneration.

It's important to get see your optometrist if you are experiencing cloudy vision as it can be a sign of other health conditions.

Conjunctivitis

Red eyes with burning or itchy sensation caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane inside the eyelids. Also known as pink eye.

Symptoms may include red or pink eyes, puffy appearance, burning or gritty sensation, itchiness, sticky or crusty eyelashes. Avoid wearing contact lenses and make-up if you have these symptoms. Symptoms usually improve on their own in a few week's time.

It may be caused by bacteria or viral infection, allergic reaction, or irritant such as shampoo. Antibiotics drop may be required if it's caused by infection, or antihistamines if it is an allergic reaction.

Corneal Ulcers

A painful sore on the cornea, the outer surface of your eye. It can be caused by bacterial or viral infection, eye injury, or dry eye syndrome. This condition is more common to contact lens wearers.

Symptoms may include: feeling like there is something in the eye, grey or white spot on the eye, inflammation or redness, eye pain, eye discharge, blurred vision, sensitivity to light. Please visit your optometrist as soon as possible if you are experienceing any of these symptoms

Diabetic Retinopathy

A group of eye diseases as a result of blood sugar imbalances. Poorly or uncontrolled high sugar levels change the integrity of the retinal blood vessels and can cause: blockages, leakages, aneurysms, scarring, blindness.

It is important for diabetics to have yearly eye exams (or as advised by your eyecare professional) to track any changes in your retina. If left untreated, irreversible vision loss may occur.

Difficulty Focusing (Accommodation)

Difficulty in accommodation is where, the eyes have trouble in switching the focus between near and far vision. Accommodation issues can affect anyone in an environment where they change their focus distance regularly, in a short span of time e.g. in the office environment or classroom. Visual impairments or fatigue can increase accommodation issues for some patients.

Symptoms: Sore and tired eyes, headaches/double vision, difficulty to switch focus between near and far vision, blurring in the distance after reading.

Double Vision

Seeing two versions of the same image. The images may appear side by side, overlapping, or a mix.

Double vision may cause migraines or headaches. It can also be a sign of more serious health conditions, so it's very important to see an optometrist if you have these symptoms.

Dry Eyes Syndrome

Eyes need plenty of quality tears to stay moist and lubricated, or they will become dry. Dry eyes feel scratchy and irritated, sting, look red or may become watery to compensate. Dry eyes should not be ignored, serious complications may be associated with this condition. Book an eye exam to explore causes and treatments to suit your needs.

Possible causes: environmental, side-effect of medication or other medical conditions, ageing, post-surgery, imbalance of tear composition, or blocked tear ducts.

Eye Strain

A symptom of eyes overworking to see (Also known as Asthenopia). This often results in eyes becoming tired and may impact vision quality. Common eye-strain causes include driving long periods, extensive reading or computer work, straining to see in low light or from uncorrected refractive errors

Symptoms may include: sore, tired eyes, headaches, blurred vision and difficulty focusing.

Treatment may include: rest breaks, better lighting, prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Eye Twitching

Involuntary muscle spasm in the eyelid. Although bothersome, it is harmless and painless and usually will go away on its own.

Floaters

Very common and usually harmless. Floaters are made up of mostly microscopic fibres that float around in the eye jelly (vitreous). They cast shadows on the retina causing spots in the vision. Floaters are often age-related, but can be due to trauma, or retinal or vitreous detachments

If new, sudden, or particularly large spots/floater is seen, especially if accompanied with flashes in vision or peripheral vision loss, book an eye exam asap.

Glaucoma

A group of diseases that causes vision loss due to damage of the optic nerve in the back of the eye. Vision loss can be gradual or sudden, and starts peripherally.

Can be caused by: increase in eye-pressure, injury to the eye, medication side-effects, lifestyle influences.

Symptoms may include tunnel vision as a result of painless peripheral vision loss, or difficulty seeing in low light.

This often means Glaucoma goes unnoticed until the progression is considerable enough to draw awareness to the condition. This is why regular eye health checks are so important to prevent or diagnose and treat before vision loss is substantial.

Hyperopia

Hyperopia is a refractive error in which images don’t quite make it to the back of the eye, making their vision better for distance than near. However, some Hyperopes struggle with distance and near

Common signs of hyperopia: clear vision in the distance (unless moderate/high hyperopia), blurring ,sore, and tired eyes with close work or computers, headaches and/or eye fatigue.

Keratoconus

A degenerative condition that displays as progressive steepening of the cornea into a cone-like shape. As the cornea becomes less round and more irregularly-shaped, the vision becomes more and more blurry, and prone to light/glare sensitivity. The condition is usually found in adolescence and often affects both eyes. Can be hereditary or caused by frequent and vigorous eye rubbing.

Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is usually age-related (AMD or age-related macular degeneration). It is a degenerative eye disease that causes gradual loss of central vision.

Symptoms may include: loss of or disturbed central vision (not peripheral vision), loss of fine detail, partial vision loss/ distortion, straight lines appear “wavy”, seeing spots, inability to see in dim light, decline in vision can sometimes be sudden and happen in one or both eyes.

Myopia

Short sightedness is a common refractive error making things in the distance harder to see.

Common symptoms of myopia: squinting to see things far away, headaches or eye strain.

Myopia can range from mild to severe. High myopes may be at risk of other eye conditions such as retinal detachments, retinal holes, and glaucoma

Ocular Hypertension

Happens when the pressure in your eye is higher than normal. Usually there is no symptoms or effect to your vision, but it does increase your risk of developing glaucoma.

Ocular hypertension can only be detected during an eye test, so we recommend to have one regularly.

Ocular Migraines

Temporary vision loss or distortion in one eye, which can cause headaches. May also have these symptoms: dimmed vision, flashing lights, or blind spots in your field of vision.

Although they can be alarming, ocular migraines are usually harmless, and symptoms will usually disappear on their own after around 20-30 minutes.

Presbyopia

As we age, the eye's crystalline lens changes in shape and loses flexibility, making it unable to easily focus objects held up close, unless the object is moved further away.

Common signs of Presbyopia: needing to move things further away to read, need for bright light when doing close work, standard print seems very small.

Pterygium

It is a benign growth that grows outward from the nasal corner over the white of the eye toward the cornea. Pterygiums often look red and irritated. Pterygiums are often caused by overexposure to dust, UV, and chronic irritation. If untreated, pterygiums can grow over the cornea and cause blindness.

Red Eye

Most likely caused by a minor eye problem and don't affect your vision. Common causes include conjunctivitis, burst blood vessel, corneal ulcer, scratch to the cornea.

However if you have red eye accompanied by pain, reduced vision, light sensitivity, or severe headaches please visit your optometrist as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition.

Retinal Detachment

Occurs when the inside layer of the back of the eye partially or completely comes away from the choroid (the layer underneath the retina). This prevents the retina from receiving necessary blood and nutrients to survive. The longer the detachment goes untreated, the higher the risk of permanent blindness in the area where the detachment occurred.

What to look out for: sudden onset of floaters, flashes in vision, sudden reduction in vision, a curtain-like shadow over vision, gradual reduction in peripheral vision

If you have any of these symptoms, see your Optometrist as soon as possible. Be sure to let them know you are experiencing flashes or sudden vision changes in vision when booking your eye test to ensure appropriate time and resources are allocated for your needs.

Strabismus (Squint)

A muscle imbalance where eyes don’t always look in the same direction at the same time. It is a common condition that occurs in 1 in 20, usually before the age of 5, but can also occur later in life. Treatment includes eye exercises, patching, glasses, and sometimes eye-muscle surgery.

Stye

A small, painful lump that develops on the inside or outside the eyelid. It's very common and nothing serious, usually will clear out on its own.

Symptoms may include: a small bump on the inside or outside of the eyelid, swollen and red eyelid, pain when blinking.

Sunburn

Overexposure to UV light rays (also known as photokeratitis) from outdoor activities, light reflection from water/road/pavement/snow or UV lamps. Gritty, sore, painful, teary eyes, redness, blurry vision, light sensitivity or seeing halos after UV are signs of Sunburn.

Quality sun protection such as polarised, tinted, or photochromic lenses, with high UV protection.

Watery Eyes

One of the most common cause for watery eyes is dry eye syndrome. When your eyes are not receiving proper lubrication they will produce excess tears, which continues the cycle.

Can also be caused by eye irritation, conjuctivitis, allergic reaction, inflammation on the eyelids, blocked tear ducts. Most cases of watery eyes aren’t serious and will resolve without treatment.