Eye allergies are no different than allergies that affect your sinuses, nose, or lungs. When an allergen comes in contact with your eyes, your body releases histamine - a chemical produced in reaction to a substance that the immune system can't tolerate. Special cells called mast cells make histamine. These cells are present throughout the body but are highly concentrated in the eyes. Ocular allergens tend to be airborne (as are most other allergens). The most frequent allergic triggers include pollen, pet hair or dander, and dust.
Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a condition characterized by diminished vision in one or both eyes. Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment in children and young to middle-aged adults. Amblyopia can be caused from unequal refractive error between the two eyes, high but equal refractive error in both eyes, an eye turn (strabismus), or a cataract. It's estimated that about 5% of children in the United States have amblyopia because many of the conditions that cause amblyopia have no obvious signs to parents. Eye examinations before a child turns five years old is crucial in order to detect any of the conditions that cause amblyopia.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea, or surface of your eye, is irregularly shaped. A perfectly shaped cornea is spherical, like a baseball, allowing all light rays that enter your eye to focus on the retina. As a result, the image you see is sharp and crisp. With astigmatism, the shape of the cornea is irregular -- more like a football than a baseball -- causing the light rays to focus on two points rather than one. The result is distorted or blurred vision. Like nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism affects the way you see except astigmatism affects your vision at all distances, not just close up or far away.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil, that typically occurs with aging. The lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away. In the United States, about 50% of those between the ages 65 and 74, and 70% of those over age 75, have a cataract.
There are three types of conjunctivitis: allergic, bacterial and viral. Conjunctivitis is commonly referred to as "pink eye" since the eye is usually red and swollen. One of the most common symptoms is discomfort or pain, which may feel like having sand in the eye.
Soft disposable contact lenses were designed to be a healthier and more convenient approach to contact lens wear. Their introduction revolutionized the way people wore contact lenses. The majority of today's lenses are disposable because they are convenient and affordable. Throw them away daily, weekly, monthly... disposable or frequent replacement contact lenses are a healthy, time-saving option. Colored disposable contact lenses look great on light and dark eyes, whether you need vision correction or not. Silicone hydrogel soft disposable contact lenses deliver high amounts of oxygen to your eyes.
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common problems treated by eye physicians. Over ten million Americans suffer from dry eyes. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.
Also known as hyperopia, farsightedness is caused by a cornea that is flatter than a normal eye. When light enters the eye, it focuses behind the retina instead of directly on it. As a result, farsighted people usually have trouble seeing up close, but may also have difficulty seeing far away as well.
Spots called floaters are small, semi-transparent, or cloudy specks or particles within the vitreous, the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Since they are within your eyes, they move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. Spots are often caused by small flecks of protein or other matter trapped during the formation of your eyes before birth. They can also result from deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging; or from certain eye diseases or injuries. Most spots are not harmful and rarely limit vision and many fade over time. However, suddenly seeing new floaters, or floaters accompanied by flashes of light or peripheral vision loss, may indicate a retinal detachment.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. Over 2.2 million Americans have already been diagnosed with glaucoma, and 100,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Worldwide, there are an estimated 65 million cases of glaucoma. About 2% of people between the ages of 40 and 50, and 8% of those over 70, have elevated intraocular pressure in one or both eyes. Glaucoma is often called the "silent thief of sight" because there are no early warning signs. It's estimated that more than two million people may have the disease and not know it.
Vision screenings that are performed by a school nurse or your employer are not the same as comprehensive eye exams. Eye doctors check for ocular and other diseases that have no symptoms. These diseases should be detected as early as possible to avoid vision loss.
LASIK is a surgical procedure intended to reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis and is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye. A laser is used to cut a flap in the cornea. A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back revealing the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a portion of the stroma and the flap is replaced. LASIK treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, occurs when light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This is caused by a cornea that is steeper, or an eye that is longer, than a normal eye. Nearsighted people typically see well up close, but have difficulty seeing far away. As a result, someone with myopia tends to squint when viewing far away objects.
Presbyopia is often referred to as the "short arm syndrome" because you lose your ability to read things close up and need to hold them further from you to focus more clearly. Presbyopia occurs when the lens loses its elasticity, making it difficult to see things close.
Strabismus is a problem caused by one or more improperly functioning eye muscles, resulting in a misalignment of the eyes. One eye, or sometimes both, may turn in, turn out, turn up, or turn down. Sometimes more than one of the turns is present.
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