Glaucoma is an eye disease that is associated with a dangerous build up of internal eye pressure that can severely damage the optic nerve. For the majority of cases, including the most common, open-angle form, there are no discernible glaucoma symptoms until the optic nerve is damaged and a person’s peripheral vision is lost. If it is undiagnosed or left untreated it can eventually lead to blindness.

The most common form, called open-angle glaucoma, initially has no visible symptoms. The pressure in the eye builds up gradually and then at some point the optic nerve comes damaged enough to cause peripheral vision loss. Similarly, people with normal-tension glaucoma will not experience any symptoms until they begin to lose peripheral vision.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is the result of a sudden blockage in the normal flow of eye fluid (aqueous humour) between the iris and the lens. In this case, symptoms might include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and seeing a rainbow halo around lights. This type of glaucoma is a medical emergency that has to be treated immediately or blindness could result in only one or two days. Angle-closure glaucoma progresses at a much slower rate and can damage the optic nerve without symptoms.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. As many as half of the individuals with glaucoma, however, may not know that they have the disease. It is also this invisibility that makes it imperative for people to have their eyes examined regularly for glaucoma or other diseases that have serious complications or cause damage. Although nerve damage and visual loss from glaucoma cannot usually be reversed, glaucoma is a disease that can generally be controlled. Treatment can make the intraocular pressure normal and help to prevent or stop further nerve damage and visual loss. Treatment may involve the use of eye drops, pills (rarely), laser ,or surgery.
Depending on what stage your are through early detection rather than late stage glaucoma symptoms, your doctor will determine your best treatment. Because glaucoma is often painless and invisible, people may become careless about adhering to their use of eye drops or other treatments. It is important to stick to your treatment plan to control eye pressure and prevent permanent vision loss or blindness in the future.

Where should you go when you are having difficulty with your eye sight? Your eye health and sight will depend on seeing the right eye doctor. Choosing the right eye specialist will depend on the extent of your problem and the type of treatment. There are three types of eye specialists that you could potentially see including an opthalmologist, optometrist and optician—all of whom play important roles in providing you with the care your eyes need.

What is an Opthamologist?
An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor who specialises in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system. They are also very key in the prevention of eye disease and injury. An opthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. As a qualified specialist, an opthalmologist is qualified to deliver total eye care, which means vision services, eye examinations, medical and surgical eye care, diagnosis and treatment of disease and visual complications that are caused by other conditions like aging or diabetes.

Optometrists are eye doctors of optometry. They are trained healthcare professionals who examine, diagnose, treat and manage some diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system. Their vision care services range from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. Like opthalmologists, optometrists are trained to examine the internal and external structure of the eyes. However, an optometrist is not a medical doctor and they are not trained to perform eye surgery or to care for and manage all diseases and disorders of the eyes. Their role in your eye health care is to determine the presence of vision problems and visual acuity, prescribe eyeglasses, contact lenses, eye exercises, low vision aides, vision therapy and medications to treat eye diseases.

Good eye health and life long vision is the result of a working partnership between you and your eye healthcare provider. You should be sure to visit your eye doctor—either an optometrist or ophthalmologist—for an eye exam once a year. Because you eye sight is so important, don’t be afraid to be proactive in the care of your eyes. Choose a qualified eye doctor that is informative, can give proper diagnosis and treatment and promotes the best possible results and care for the eye health of his or her patients.

There are many eye conditions and diseases that can affect a child’s vision. Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of a child’s development and early diagnosis and treatment will be critical in maintaining their eye health. Some of the more common focus and alignment disorders and eye diseases are listed below. Children should have their eyes examined regularly to ensure early detection and treatment. It is important to ensure that their eyes are examined regularly because many eye problems and diseases can be detected and treated early.

Children may be diagnosed with refraction errors including myopia (near-sightedness), hypermetropia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism (blurred vision). Each of these can be corrected with glasses, which can be diagnosed and treated by an eye doctor.

Amblyopia is another eye problem that refers to poor vision in an eye that has not developed normal sight. The condition is sometimes call “lazy eye” and it occurs when visual acuity is better in one eye over the other. Amblyopia can be cause by Strabismus (misaligned eyes). In this case, one eye may look straight ahead while the other turns in, out, up or down. Interestingly, the brain turns off signals from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision.

Parents are often the first to notice focus or alignment problems in the eyes in a young child, but often a teacher will be the first to notice signs that something is not quite right with their vision. There are a number of symptoms or signs that you should look for that could indicate that your child is experiencing eye problems:

1. Clumsiness due to a failure to notice new things around him or her.
2. A persistent need to squint when the light is not bright.
3. Rubbing eyes when not tired.
4. Excessive tearing that is unrelated to crying.
5. Recurring eye infections, swollen eyelids or sties.
6. Eyes that have bulging appearance, bounce or move in rapid regular movements.
7. Is constantly tilting his or her head to one side in order to see better.
8. Needs to cover one eye frequently in order to see better.
9. Holds books or toys too close or sits very close to the television.
10. Eyes that are mismatched, crossed or don’t move synchronistically.

If you notice any of these signs it could indicate eye problems and your child should immediately have their eyes examined. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to maintaining your child’s eye health. When eye problems are caught early, the condition can often be reversed or at least treated to prevent learning difficulties or progression of a serious disorder.

The vast majority of vision problems are a result of imperfect formation of the eye’s refractive system—or in other words, when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball or an aging of the lens can cause refractive errors. In order to see clearly, there are a number of eye structures that must develop properly so that we don’t develop a need for vision correction. Most people have one or more of these conditions in varying degrees.

We are able to “see” when light rays are refracted as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. There are many ways that even the slightest imperfection in the development of an eye can result in a condition known as ametropia, which simply means that the eye’s refractive system isn’t focusing light at the proper point. The most common types of refractive errors are near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Myopia (near-sightedness) is the most common vision problem. The condition causes people where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear either not as clearly or blurry. The cause of this condition is that either the eyeball is too long or the lens/cornea optical system of the eye is too strong.

Hyperopia (Far-sightedness) is the second most common type of refractive error. Far-sightedness is when distant objects are seen more clearly than objects that are near, but interestingly enough, people experience this condition differently. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, when they are young, while others will experience significant blurriness for objects at any distance, near or far. In contrast to Myopia, the cause of this condition is that either the eyeball is too short or the lens/cornea optical system of the eye is too weak.

Other common vision problems include Astigmatism and Presbyopia. Astigmatism is a condition where the person has an irregularly shaped cornea (more like a football), which causes images to be blurry and stretched out. Presbyopia, in contrast, is simply a result of the normal aging process where there is a gradual loss of flexibility of the crystalline lens and its ability to produce clear images.

An eye care professional can diagnose refractive errors or other vision problem during a comprehensive dilated eye examination. Refractive errors can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or laser surgery.

Most of us have experienced temporary eye problems at one time or another. These problems might include itching, blurriness or fatigue. These types of eye problems are typically short live, and will likely go away on their own without complications. However, sudden eye problems or those that last for more than a couple of days should be checked by your eye doctor.

Eye twitching, eyelid ticks and spasms are pretty common. Referred to as Blepharospasm, an involuntary twitching of the muscles in the eyelid is generally caused by stress or fatigue. Most eye twitches come and go, although if you are experiencing long term stress then they might last for weeks or months. Sudden-onset eyelid twitching is benign, but it can also be difficult to treat. A good night’s sleep is one of the easiest solutions to correcting the problem, but if it continues you should see a doctor. Other triggers include eye strain, caffeine, alcohol, dry eyes, nutritional imbalances and allergies.

Eye floaters are specks or dots that you are seeing before your eyes. These are quite common and typically created when a tiny clump or strand forms within the vitreous of the eye. So, when you move your eyes to look at the floater, it also moves because it is situated within the vitreous. Most people experience floaters, and although annoying, the are usually quite harmless. There isn’t a treatment for floaters, but if you suddenly notice a clump of floaters or flashing lights you should visit an eye doctor immediately to ensure the internal surfaces of your eye are healthy.

Watery eyes is another common eye problem, which can be due to a number of factors. You might have a low-grade infection of the eyelids, for example, that causes irritation upon awakening or subsequent tear production. Or you might have dry eyes, which seems contradictory, but in fact dryness of the eyes stimulates tear production. Other causes might be a tear drainage blockage, a mild allergic reaction or foreign material in the eye. Whatever the cause might be, it is definitely worthwhile to visit your eye doctor to determine the cause and get treatment like eye drops to lubricate the eyes.

Most common eye problems like sore and tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, twitching eyelids and watery or dry eyes will typically remedy themselves. However, if any of these eye problems seem to be recurring or getting worse then you should definitely see an eye doctor to rule out any serious disorders or find a solution.

All of us suffer from one type of eye disorders or another during our life. In fact, most eye doctors see many patients who experience eye disorders that may or may not be serious. No matter what the eye disorder, it is key to your eye health that you check in with your eye doctor about any symptoms, changes to your vision or condition of your eyes. There are many conditions that occur that you might not recognise as an eye disorder.

For example, your eyes can become tired, blurred, sore or dry. Occasionally you might even see spots or get headaches. These types of eye complaints are very common and will sometimes correct themselves, however, it is always best to see an optometrist for diagnosis or advice.

If you have dry eyes you may be experiencing consequences that range from subtle irritation to ocular inflammation of the front tissues of the eye. This eye disorder, which is called dry eye syndrome, can be caused by a lack of tear production from glands, part of the natural aging process, side effect to medication or to external factors like a dry and windy climate. In addition, if you spend a lot of time concentrating on a computer screen, you will often blink less which can lead to dry eyes. To minimise the risk of tired or dry eyes it is important to take regular breaks, look around at objects placed at differing distances and try to remember to blink often. Treatment from an eye doctor might include drops, exercises or glasses.

Blurry vision is also a common eye disorder. If your vision has started going blurry at night, you should have your eyes examined to identify the source of the problem. Blurry eyes at night can be caused by a number of factors. Blurry vision can happen when you are over tired and your visual system becomes fatigued. Or maybe you are experiencing refractive errors. You might have only a slight error, which is not noticeable during the day, but is magnified when your eyes become tired or need to focus in a dimmer light. Common refracted errors include near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. All of these eye disorders can be treated with glasses or contact lenses.

Whatever eye disorders you might be experiencing—and even if there are only subtle signs—it is a good idea to visit your eye doctor who can help you understand the disorder and begin using the tools or treatments necessary to maintain or restore proper vision. Your eye health can affect the quality of your day to day life, so seeking treatment for your disorder will ensure day to day enjoyment.

Genetics definitely play a role in many types of eye diseases and problems. On the upside, genetic strategies are leading to promising treatments for some conditions, including mutations associated with many ocular diseases including glaucoma, cataracts, strabismus, corneal dystrophies and forms of retinal degenerations causing blindness. If you know of family members that have certain eye diseases or disorders, it is vital that you learn more about the diseases so you can more easily spot any signs or symptoms.

Knowledge about genetic eye diseases has increased dramatically during the last twenty years. Although there are no global statistics which let us know the extent of the burden of visual impairment from genetic causes, there is some indication that genetic eye pathology represents a significant percentage of the causes of blindness in industrialised countries. More than 60 per cent of blindness in infants is caused by inherited eye diseases. Many patients who have a family history of certain types of eye diseases like strabismus (ocular misalignment), amblyopia (lazy eye) and refraction errors such as myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism will likely develop them, but genetic ophthalmologists are working to identify the responsible genes.

For example, many people are unaware that cataracts can be inherited. A cataract, which is essentially the clouding of the eye’s clear lens, will cause blurriness and hazy vision. Gone untreated, cataracts can lead to blindness. Although cataracts commonly develop in the aging process, they can also be caused by injury, certain diseases, medications, and genetic inheritance.

Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are the two leading causes of blindness in adults and children. Both diseases appear to be inherited in a large percentage of cases. Thankfully, genetic researchers are successfully mapping several genes for glaucoma and are now in the early stages of identifying the genes connected to macular degeneration. There is also progress with identifying the genes associated with other degenerative disease of the retina that lead to night blindness or gradual vision loss.

If you have a history of one of the eye diseases outlined above or have noticed any symptoms or potential signs, then be sure to make an appointment to visit your eye doctor right away.