top of page
A woman reading on her tablet device

Understanding Common Eye Conditions and Their Symptoms

 

Our eyes are complex organs that are susceptible to various conditions, some of which can significantly impact vision if left untreated. Early detection and treatment are crucial for maintaining good eye health. In this article, we’ll explore some common eye conditions, their symptoms, and why it’s important to seek prompt medical attention.

1. Dry Eyes

What Are Dry Eyes?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or when the tears evaporate too quickly. This condition can be uncomfortable and, if left untreated, can lead to inflammation and damage to the eye’s surface.

 

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

  • Stinging or burning sensation in the eyes

  • Redness of the eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

  • A feeling of having something in your eyes (grittiness)

  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

  • Blurred vision

  • Eye fatigue

Causes of Dry Eyes

  • Aging: Tear production tends to decrease with age.

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can reduce tear production.

  • Environmental factors: Exposure to wind, smoke, or dry air can contribute to tear evaporation.

  • Medical conditions: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can affect tear production.

2. Cataracts

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts develop slowly and can affect one or both eyes. They are a leading cause of vision impairment, especially among older adults.

Symptoms of Cataracts

  • Cloudy or blurry vision

  • Difficulty seeing at night

  • Sensitivity to light and glare

  • Seeing “halos” around lights

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Double vision in a single eye

Causes of Cataracts

  • Aging: The most common cause of cataracts.

  • Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk.

  • Exposure to sunlight: UV radiation can increase the risk of cataracts.

  • Smoking: Increases the risk of cataract formation.

  • Alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol use can contribute to cataract development.

3. Glaucoma

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, often due to high pressure in the eye. It is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Early detection is crucial as vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be recovered.

 

Symptoms of Glaucoma

  • No early symptoms: In its early stages, glaucoma typically has no symptoms.

  • Gradual loss of peripheral vision: Often unnoticed until significant vision is lost.

  • Tunnel vision in advanced stages.

  • Severe eye pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Sudden onset of visual disturbance, often in low light.

  • Blurred vision

  • Halos around lights

  • Redness in the eye

Types of Glaucoma

  • Primary open-angle glaucoma: The most common form, with gradual vision loss.

  • Angle-closure glaucoma: A medical emergency with sudden symptoms like severe eye pain and nausea.

  • Normal-tension glaucoma: Optic nerve damage occurs even though eye pressure is within the normal range.

 

Causes of Glaucoma

  • Increased intraocular pressure: Due to inadequate drainage of aqueous humor.

  • Family history: A significant risk factor.

  • Age: People over 60 are at higher risk.

  • Medical conditions: Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can increase risk.

 

4. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

What Is AMD?

AMD is a condition that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. It is a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 50 and older.

 

Symptoms of AMD

  • Blurred or “wavy” vision in the center of your field of view

  • Difficulty reading or recognizing faces

  • Straight lines appearing distorted

  • A dark, blurry area in the center of vision

  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels

Types of AMD

  • Dry AMD: Characterized by the thinning of the macula, accounting for about 80-90% of cases.

  • Wet AMD: Less common but more severe, involving abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula.

 

Conclusion

Understanding the symptoms and causes of common eye conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration can help you take proactive steps in maintaining your eye health. Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and treatment, ensuring that you can address any issues before they lead to significant vision impairment.

For more information on eye health and to schedule an eye exam at Hillside Optometry in Granada Hills, call us at 818-474-2020, 

bottom of page