Astigmatism: normally light is refracted to produce a clear image on your retina; if the curvature is not completely round, then refraction can differ in different directions, which can cause a somewhat distorted retinal image. It can ordinarily be corrected with spectacles or specific types of contact lenses.
Cataract: can be best described as a cloudiness in the lens of the eye which will interfere with the quality of light reaching the retina. Often a person who may have a cataract will experience symptoms such as poor night-time vision, blurred vision or ‘halos’ around lights. Treatment may include spectacles and contact lenses, but occasionally surgery may be needed.
Conjunctivitis: sometimes referred to as pink or red eye is an infection which is commonly caused by allergic, viral or bacterial reactions. Diffferent treatments are necessary, depending on the cause, but be aware that viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis can be contagious – putting not just both your own eyes at risk, but also others who might become infected from things like towels or hand cloths that you have been in contact with. Allergic reactions can be seasonal in nature, or a result of perfume or particular cosmetics and certain drugs. Eye drops, anitbiotics and ointments can be utilised in treating conjunctivitis, but viral conjunctivitis in particular cannot necessarily be cured, although it’s symptoms can be relieved.
Glaucoma: is a result of a build-up of pressure in the eye, which in turn can lead to damage of the optic nerve. Consequently, information caried from the optic nerve to the brain is impaired and a loss of vision can result. Glaucoma can occur more readily when there is a family history (a family member(s) who may have or had glaucoma); it is also more common in short-sighted individuals, diabetics and in people over 40 year of age. Symptoms include things like side-vision loss or blurred vison; coloured rings around lights and redness or pain in the eyes. Treatment can be very effective, particularly when diagnosed early with medication or eye drops. However, loss of vision caused before treatment cannot be restored and is yet another reason why a regular eye examination is recommended.
Long-sightedness: when light is focussed at a point behind the retina, due to the shape of the eye itself, correction is necessary to ensure that focussing occurs properly. Without correction, re-focussing in an attempt to see more clearly, can lead to headaches and eye strain, particularly when undertaking close work such as computer use. Spectacles with the correct prescription or contact lenses will normally solve the problem and indeed, it may not be necessary that they be worn all the time, for example in the case of reading glasses.
Short-sightedness: not surprisingly in contrast to long-sightedness – light is focussed in front, rather than on the retina and your distance vision will likely be blurred. Ordinarily, you will not experience any problems when undertaking close work like reading or perhaps computer use, but you may (depending on your prescription) require spectacles to be worn all or most of the time.
The foregoing is by no means an exhaustive list of eye problems, but is does indicate some of the more common that we experience on a regular basis.