Vision Problems & Conditions
There are many types of eye problems and visual disturbances. These include blurred vision, halos, blind spots, floaters, and other symptoms. Blurred vision is the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see small details, See the below illustrations for a summary of all forms of blurred vision. Blind spots are dark “holes” in the visual field in which nothing can be seen and the accumulation of many blind spots can lead to complete blindness.
Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the cornea is too steep or the length to the back of the eye (retina) is too long. As light enters the eye, the visual image focuses in front of the retina, resulting in a blurred or distorted image.
Astigmatism (asymmetrical or toric cornea) occurs when an eye is shaped like a football, unlike the normal eye that has a round shape similar to a basketball. Astigmatism causes certain amounts of distortion or pitched images because of the uneven bending of light rays entering the eye.
Hyperopia (farsightedness) occurs when the cornea is too flat or the length to the back of the eye (retina) is too short. As light enters the eye, the visual image focuses behind the retina, resulting in a blurred or distorted visual image.
Presbyopia is a condition, which causes many people from their early forties on to need reading glasses or bifocal lenses. It occurs when the eye’s near-focusing ability declines due to the loss of elasticity of the focusing lens inside the eye.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside of the eye. When the lens becomes cloudy and discolored, cataract forms, causing increased blurring of the visual images before they can reach the retina. The most common reason for the development of cataracts is the natural aging process. Other causes are trauma to the eye, excessive ultra-violet exposure, and certain systemic diseases, like diabetes.
Floaters are small pieces of material that form in the vitreous. Floaters are usually grouped protein or cells, which are seen as small specks or strands moving into the field of vision. Some patients report seeing a cobweb-like appearance. The common cause is the natural aging process. When we get older, the vitreous decreases in size like a deflating balloon inside the eye, thus giving these specks less room to disperse in the vitreous. They form clumps that are easier to view. Although this can be very annoying, these floaters present no threat to the health of your eye.
Light Flashes that last only a few seconds may appear when your vitreous is decreasing in size as we age. The vitreous tugs on the retina, and a formation of light is produced. Some flashes of light are indicative of the beginning of a migraine headache. Other flashes of light could be a sign of the beginning of a retina detachment, which is common in patients that have or had a larger nearsighted correction. The retina is thinnest in the peripheral part of the eye, and the vitreous can tug on the retina, causing it to be pulled off of its supporting tissue. If this is happening, it is extremely important that a dilated examination be performed within 24 hours of the onset of the flashes.
Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that is associated with aging. It is a gradual decline of your central vision, which affects 13 million people in America. It is the leading cause of vision loss. There are two forms of macular degeneration:
Dry AMD is 85 percent of all people with macular degeneration. The aging and thinning of the tissues of the central retina (macula) cause dry AMD. This is the slower of the two forms, and vision loss may take many years before the patient realizes a decrease in their vision. The dry form of AMD can progress quickly into the wet form, so early detection and careful monitoring are critical.
Wet AMD is 15 percent of all people with AMD. This type has a much greater impact on central vision. As the central retina thins, abnormal blood vessels begin forming. These vessels are very fragile and leak fluid and blood onto the retina, causing a dramatic decrease in vision. Laser treatment is needed to seal these vessels before any additional damage is done to the retina. Early detection with a fluorescence angiography is needed to locate these vessels, and the laser treatment will help to stabilize the leakage.
Amsler Grid testing is needed to be performed daily from your own home to monitor any changes that may be occurring without any noticeable distortions in your vision. Our office for your convenience routinely distributes a copy of this test. Ask one of the staff or Dr. Anderson for instructions on how to use this test effectively