Common Eye Problems and Infections

06 December 2018 13:56 Wellness Desk

When it comes to signs of eye disease, Americans are blind to the facts. A recent survey showed that while nearly half (47%) of Americans worry more about going blind than losing their memory or their ability to walk or hear, almost 30% of those surveyed admitted to not getting their eyes checked.

The following slides take a look at some of the signs and symptoms of some of the most common eye diseases.

The anatomy of the eye is complex. The main structures of the eye include:

• Cornea: clear tissue in the very front of the eye

• Iris: colored part of the eye surrounding the pupil

• Pupil: dark hole in the iris that regulates the amount of light going into the eye

• Lens: small clear disk inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina

• Retina: layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and creates electrical impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain

• Macula: small central area in the retina that allows us to see fine details clearly

• Optic nerve: connects the eye to the brain and carries the electrical impulses formed by the retina to the visual cortex of the brain

• Vitreous: clear, jelly-like substance that fills the middle of the eye

• Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that develop due to elevated intra-ocular pressure (IOP) within the eye. The increased pressure affects the optic nerve and may cause vision loss. Glaucoma is classified either as open-angle (the more common form that is usually painless) or angle-closure glaucoma (which often occurs suddenly and is associated with pain and redness of the eye).

• In the early phases of glaucoma there are often no symptoms. By the time vision is affected, the damage is permanent. Progression of glaucoma can be slowed or halted with eye drops, laser treatments, or surgery so early diagnosis is key.

• People with a family history of glaucoma, the elderly, and African-Americans are at increased risk of the disease.

• A cataract is a painless cloudy lens in the eye that causes blurry vision. It progresses slowly as we age (most people who live long enough will have some cataract-like changes to their cornea). Other causes of cataracts include diabetes, trauma, some medications, and excessive UV light exposure.

• Your doctor can see a cataract while doing a routine eye exam. Treatments for cataracts include eyeglasses, magnifying lenses, or surgery. Surgery is curative as the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one. The need for surgery and the risks involved should be discussed with your eye doctor.

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