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Eye conditions

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Eye conditions

Eye conditions

Sight is such a crucial aspect of our life that we should do everything we can to safeguard it. Consequently, it’s important to be familiar with the symptoms of common eye problems, just as it is with any other medical issue, so you know what to look for, what to do and when to get care. Your eyes can also reveal indicators of more serious problems with your overall health, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Since the symptoms of these conditions are not always visible, frequent eye exams are an important component of staying healthy.

Normal vision

For perfect clear vision, what we see (an image) needs to be focused onto the retina, just like a camera has to be focused properly to take a clear picture. If the image is not focused exactly on the retina, then the image will be blurred, just like an out-of-focus photograph. In this case, the person is said to have a refractive error.

Refractive errors occur when there is a mismatch between the length of the eye and its optical power. These mismatches usually originate during childhood, when the eyes are growing. The exact causes of refractive errors are still being studied, but it is known that both hereditary and environmental influences can affect their development. Most people have some refractive error, but in most cases, the error is small and does not cause any problems. Above the age of 40, it is normal for the near reading vision to become slightly blurred. This is due to presbyopia.

  • What is Myopia?

    Myopia is what most people call short-sightedness. Short-sighted people have trouble seeing far away objects clearly. The lens and cornea of the eye ordinarily focus light onto the retina to create a picture. Since light is concentrated in front of the retina in a myopic eye, the image is blurred.

  • Does a short-sighted person see close objects more clearly than a person with normal vision?

    No. Short-sighted people see close objects equally as well or sometimes slightly worse. When their myopia is corrected, they see objects equally as well.

  • How can I tell if I am short-sighted?

    Short-sighted people have trouble seeing distant things well, making it difficult to see traffic signs and scoreboards, for example. Often a person will not realise that they cannot see clearly but an eye examination by an optometrist will reveal the problem.

  • How can I tell if my child is short-sighted?

    A complete eye test is the only sure way of determining whether your child’s vision is normal. Some clues to myopia in a child are:
    · Squinting eyes to see distant objects.
    · Difficulty in reading the blackboard at school.
    · Poor posture while reading.
    · Lack of interest in playing outdoor games.

  • What causes myopia?

    Myopia is caused by a mismatch between the power of the optical components of the eye and the length of the eye (the ‘axial length’). Either the power is too high or the length is too long, or both. The cornea (the front surface of the eye) is usually curved more steeply than average, which increases the optical power of the eye. The specific reasons for the power-to-axial-length mismatch are unknown. There is some genetic influence (if your parents are short-sighted, you have a greater chance of being short-sighted yourself) and there is some evidence for environmental factors, such as excessive amounts of near work, having some influence.

  • Can myopia be cured?

    No, however, a short-sighted person will be able to see clearly with correctly prescribed spectacles or contact lenses. Several procedures for reshaping the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to lessen its power and, therefore, treat myopia are also available. Orthokeratology, or 'Ortho-K,' is a procedure that employs stiff contact lenses to modify the curvature of the cornea as you sleep, allowing you to go without contact lenses and glasses during the day. Other surgical techniques use lasers or implants to change the power of the front of the eye.

  • Can myopia be prevented?

    There is no certain prevention for myopia. Treatment can be recommended in certain circumstances to stop or reduce the growth of the disease. According to a recent study, 10-14 hours of weekly outdoor exercise is associated with decreased risks of myopia. One theory is that sunshine activates retinal dopamine, which can help prevent myopia development in children. This, in turn, prevents eye development and, as a result, myopia.

  • How common is myopia?

    It is a very common condition. Short-sighted people account for around 15% of the population. Myopia usually begins in adolescence and progresses into early adulthood.

  • Can myopia cause other problems?

    High levels of myopia can cause other, more serious problems. People with high levels of myopia often have very large, elongated eyes and their retinas may be stretched and thinner than normal. This increases the risk of the retina developing holes and tears and the risk of retinal detachments. If you are myopic you should have regular eye examinations and talk to your optometrist about the potential for problems.

  • What is hyperopia?

    Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a common refractive error that affects many people. It occurs when the eye is shorter than normal or the cornea is too flat, causing light to focus behind the retina instead of directly on it. This results in distant objects appearing clearer than close-up objects.

  • How can I tell if I have hyperopia?

    As a patient, signs of hyperopia can include difficulty focusing on close-up objects, eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision when reading or performing other near tasks. Some people may also experience eye fatigue or discomfort after prolonged periods of reading or other close work.

  • How do you correct Hyperopia?

    Hyperopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses that have a positive (convex) lens, which helps to bend light and bring it into focus on the retina. For those who do not want to wear glasses or contact lenses, sometimes refractive surgery such as LASIK can also be an option.

  • How can I tell if my child has hyperopia?

    In children, hyperopia is often mild and may go unnoticed until school age when reading and other near tasks become more demanding. In some cases, hyperopia may even go away as the eye grows and matures. However, it is important to have regular eye exams to detect any changes in vision and ensure timely treatment if necessary.

  • How can hyperopia affect adults?

    As people age, the lens of the eye becomes less flexible, making it more difficult to focus on near objects. This condition, known as presbyopia, occurs in people with or without hyperopia. For people with hyperopia, presbyopia can make the symptoms of hyperopia more noticeable and require a stronger prescription for reading or other near tasks. More on presbyopia below.
    At our clinic, we offer comprehensive eye exams to detect and treat hyperopia and other refractive errors. Our experienced optometrists will assess your vision and recommend the best treatment options for your individual needs. If you're experiencing symptoms of hyperopia, such as blurred vision or eye strain, contact us to schedule an appointment today.
    At our clinic, we offer comprehensive eye exams to detect and treat hyperopia and other refractive errors. Our experienced optometrists will assess your vision and recommend the best treatment options for your individual needs. If you're experiencing symptoms of hyperopia, such as blurred vision or eye strain, contact us to schedule an appointment today.

Colour vision deficiency

Colour vision defects are almost always inherited, although some forms can be an acquired condition as a result of some diseases or injuries. The abnormality is sex-linked, recessive, and carried on the X chromosomes.

Males have one X chromosome and females have two. In relation to colour defects, this means that any males that have a defect on their one X chromosome will exhibit a colour vision defect, while females must carry the same type of colour vision defect on both their X chromosomes to be colour vision deficient. If females have it only on one X chromosome, they will carry the condition but still have normal colour vision themselves.

In the general population, about 8% of males and 0.5% of females have colour vision deficiencies. Almost all colour deficient people do see a large range of colours, but they will have difficulty identifying particular colours. The most common defects lead to confusing certain shades of red and green, for example.

As children, few of these people will be aware that they have a colour vision deficiency, but the detection of these problems is important, especially when career choices are affected.

  • What is presbyopia?

    Presbyopia is a common condition that makes vision difficult at a normal reading distance. It is not a disease.

  • How will presbyopia affect my vision?

    Initially, close tasks such as reading and sewing become difficult, particularly under poor lighting conditions. Later, even tasks further away such as laptop or computer use may become difficult. For example, initially, you may find that you are holding your newspaper further away from your eyes to make the print clearer. Presbyopia does not affect distance vision. You may also have difficulty concentrating when reading or you may find periods of close work result in sore eyes, headaches or tiredness.

  • What causes presbyopia?

    With age, the lens loses its flexibility and is less able to change its shape. This is a completely normal ageing change, just like stiffening joints or greying hair. The loss in lens flexibility is the reason that close focusing becomes more difficult.

  • Who is likely to become presbyopic?

    Everyone experiences the ageing process that causes presbyopia. The condition cannot be prevented.

  • Does presbyopia come on quickly?

    No. Presbyopia is usually first noticed around the age of 40 to 45 years. Although difficulties with close work may seem to come on suddenly, the ageing process that causes presbyopia is gradual and has been going on since childhood. Between the ages of 45 and 65, the number of presbyopia increases, making near work more difficult. From 65 years onwards, there are unlikely to be any further significant changes to vision due to presbyopia.

  • How is presbyopia treated?

    Presbyopia is corrected with either spectacles or contact lenses with a prescription designed especially for close distances. The prescription must be calculated for the distance at which you do your close tasks.

    Discussion with your optometrist will help to determine the best way of preparing your prescription. The correction for presbyopia will make near objects clear but distant objects blurry. This means that if you have a pair of spectacles just for reading you will not be able to watch television while wearing them.

    Having different prescriptions for distance and reading can be a nuisance, especially if you have to change spectacles all the time. One way around the problem is the use of a multifocal. These are special lenses that have a prescription for distance vision in the top half of the lens and a gradual progression in power to the reading prescription in the lower half.

  • Does presbyopia mean that my eyes are deteriorating?

    No. Although your close focusing system is not functioning as well as it used to, once Presbyopia has been corrected with spectacles you will be able to see close things as well as you always did. Presbyopia does not represent a threat to your eyes’ health.

  • When should I have my prescription for presbyopia renewed?

    Between the ages of 45 and 65, your prescription is likely to change significantly. It is recommended to have your eyes examined every two years to review your prescription and your general eye health. If you experience vision problems within two or three years of your previous examination you should make a review appointment with your optometrist. Your optometrist will advise you of the most appropriate period between consultations.

  • Will wearing spectacles weaken my eyes?

    No. Presbyopia will continue regardless of whether spectacles are worn. Wearing spectacles will not accelerate or slow the development of Presbyopia.

  • What is astigmatism?

    Astigmatism is a focusing error that causes asymmetric blur. Some directions of an image are out of focus more than others. In comparison, short-sightedness (myopia) causes uniform blurring in all directions.

  • What does it look like?

    Astigmatism generates varying degrees of blur in various directions. Images get distorted or even doubled as a result of this. Certain letters may be more difficult to read than others, depending on the orientation of the lines within them. One type of chart used to detect astigmatism uses a series of lines arranged in a fan shape. If you have astigmatism, some lines will appear clearer than others.

  • What causes astigmatism?

    Most astigmatism is caused by the irregular shape of the front surface of the eye (the cornea). It can also be caused by slight tilting of the lens inside the eye. It may be an inherited characteristic or a normal variation accompanying growth.

  • Can you describe the shape?

    A magnifying glass focuses the sun to a point image because its two surfaces are spherical, each like the surface of a basketball. Now imagine a transparent surface shaped like the side of an Australian Rules or rugby football. It has two different curvatures. These result in light focusing at two different locations. The image does not focus on a point and so is blurred.

  • How does astigmatism affect me?

    Objects are unclear or blurry at all distances and the eye is unable to focus. Astigmatism, even in minor degrees, can cause headaches, fatigue, and a loss of attention. The eyes may attempt to fix the blur but without success. Squinting the eyes to see better causes pain in the eyelid and facial muscles.

  • How is astigmatism corrected?

    Astigmatism can be corrected using spectacles and hard and soft contact lenses. Correction of astigmatism can sometimes result in a change in the apparent size and shape of objects, which can compromise distance judgement. A patient may notice that objects appear to slope and bend or that they feel taller or shorter. Adjusting to these side effects usually takes about a week or two. Correction of astigmatism may need a trade-off between optimal clarity and visual discomfort.

  • How is astigmatism detected?

    Some people notice blur themselves. Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine whether or not you have astigmatism. Astigmatism isn't a disease of the eyes and any changes are usually gradual and not always for the worse. Most people have some degree of astigmatism.

Are you due for an eye examination?

The optometrists at Vision Splendid would be happy to perform a routine eye check-up for you if you haven't had your vision and eye health tested in a while. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our specialist eye care centres.

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