Common Eye Diseases & Conditions
Glaucoma is a common eye disease that currently affects an estimated 3 million Americans. With glaucoma, intraocular pressure (IOP) rises due to blockages that prevent fluids from leaving the eye.
As a result, the rising pressure damages your optic nerve and permanently harms your vision. However, some types of glaucoma don’t raise IOP levels yet still damage the eye’s optic nerve.
There are 3 common types of glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle between the iris and cornea remains open, but the intraocular fluid doesn’t drain enough to maintain normal IOP levels. As a result, IOP levels rise, causing damage to the optic nerve.
- Closed-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage angle between the iris and cornea closes and rapidly increases IOP levels, leading to sudden vision loss. Closed-angle glaucoma is rare and considered an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
- Normal-tension glaucoma is a type of glaucoma that damages the optic nerve even when IOP levels are normal or low. Optometrists and researchers aren’t sure how this type of glaucoma develops, but a comprehensive eye exam can help detect symptoms by observing the optic nerve.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness in patients over 55.
AMD deteriorates the macula, the part of your retina responsible for central vision, which affects your ability to read, drive, or recognize faces.
There are 2 common types of AMD:
- Dry AMD occurs when small deposits of lipids, known as drusen, develop behind the macula. The drusen slowly deteriorates the macula over time, resulting in vision loss.
- Wet AMD is responsible for the majority of AMD-related blindness and occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop underneath the macula. The vessels can then break and leak fluids on and underneath your macula, resulting in rapid vision loss. Wet AMD is considered to be a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
Diabetic retinopathy is a common eye disease that can develop as a complication of diabetes. Higher blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels located behind your retina.
To help get the oxygen and nutrients it needs, the retina responds by growing abnormal, small, and delicate vessels. However, these new vessels can break, leaking blood and fluids into the retina, resulting in vision loss.
Cataracts are a common eye condition that develops when your eye’s clear crystalline lens becomes rigid and opaque, resulting in a milky, cloudy appearance that could affect your vision.
Cataracts are commonly mitigated using eyeglasses or contact lenses. But, in more severe cases, your optometrist could recommend cataract surgery, which removes the cataract lens and replaces it with a new artificial intraocular lens.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, can occur for various reasons, but symptoms are relatively the same regardless: redness, irritation, blurriness, and discharge.
There are 3 common types of conjunctivitis:
- Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when your eyes react to allergens. You can mitigate your symptoms by using allergy medication or eye drops, but please consult with your optometrist before using over-the-counter products.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is a contagious condition that is treated with antibiotics. Please speak to your optometrist for treatment and avoid touching your eyes and face to prevent spreading.
- Viral conjunctivitis is also contagious, but the only way to treat it is by letting it run its course. Over a couple of days, your symptoms should relax. If you’re still struggling with conjunctivitis, please consult your optometrist.