Different types of blindness

By: Richard E. Gans, MD

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It’s easy to take your eyesight for granted – until something happens to threaten it. This throws vision’s importance into sharp relief.

Here, ophthalmologist Richard Gans, MD, explains the five most common conditions affecting your vision and shares tips for preserving your eyesight.

Contents

1. Cataract

The problem: Light rays from objects in view must pass through your lens to reach your retina’s light-sensing cells. When a cataract clouds the lens, your vision fogs and lights get a halo.

Tips for prevention: Protect your eyes with lenses that block both UVA and UVB light, and avoid smoking. It’s important to control your blood pressure, watch your weight and manage diabetes as well.

2. Diabetic retinopathy

The problem: Your retina transforms light into signals your brain can process. Diabetes can swell the retina and make blood vessels leak or grow, causing blurring, flashes, floaters, pain and pressure.

Tips for prevention: Get yearly dilated eye exams to detect diabetic eye problems early, which can prevent or slow vision loss. Controlling your blood glucose and blood pressure is also key.

3. Macular degeneration

The problem: You rely on light-sensing cells in the macula, the center of your retina, for what is called central vision. In age-related macular degeneration (AMD), tissue breakdown or blood vessel growth in the macula makes it hard to see faces, read, drive and more.

Tips for prevention: Avoid smoking, which doubles your risk of macular degeneration as you age. Get regular exercise, control your blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, eat lots of leafy greens and fish.

4. Glaucoma

The problem: The right amount of fluid must fill the space within your eye. Pressure from too much fluid damages the optic nerve, stealing your peripheral, and then your central, vision.

Tip for prevention: Work with your eye doctor to keep your eye pressure well-controlled to avoid losing your vision.

5. Refractive errors

The problem: Your eyeball, cornea and lens must be shaped just right for light rays to bend (refract) and land on your retina to make their way to the brain. If this process doesn’t happen, vision blurs.

In refractive errors, light rays do not bend and land where they should in the eye. Refractive errors include:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia): Light rays fall short of your retina.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia): Light rays overreach your retina.
  • Astigmatism: Light rays fall unevenly on your retina’s surface.
  • Age-related difficulty focusing up close (presbyopia): Light rays overreach the retina, making reading and other close work a challenge.

Tip for correction: Eye exams are recommended annually before age 18 and after age 65, and every two years in between (unless you have a medical or eye problem that requires frequent attention).

Types of Vision

Emmetropia

If you are emmetropic it means you can see well at a distance when your eyes are at rest (when they are not accommodating or trying to focus). Your eye is correctly shaped so that the light rays focus (or refract) on the retina in the back of the eye as they should. This allows for a clear image to be processed by the optic nerve/brain and seen through the eyes.

Nearsightedness

If you are nearsighted it means that you can see well up close, but things at a distance appear blurry. Nearsightedness occurs when the cornea (the front of the eye) is too steep, or the eye is too long, and the light rays focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina as they should. This condition can be corrected by glasses, contacts, or laser vision correction.

Farsightedness

If you are farsighted it means that you might see well at a distance by focusing the eyes, but as focusing diminishes with time both near and distance vision become blurry. Farsightedness occurs when the cornea (the front of the eye) is too flat or the eye is too short, and the light rays focus behind the retina, rather than on the retina as they should. This condition can be corrected by glasses, contacts or in some cases laser vision correction.

Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism it means that your eye is not round, rather it is much like a football, which causes some light rays to focus on the retina and some to focus in front or behind the retina. This visual distortion can produce shadows, double images, or ghosting. Often people will have astigmatism combined with nearsightedness or farsightedness. This condition can be corrected by glasses, contacts or in most cases laser vision correction.

Presbyopia

About the age of 40 people find they have to start holding reading materials further from their eyes to see clearly. Eventually reading glasses or bifocals are required.

Department of Health

Most Common Adult Vision Problems

  • Blurred vision (called refractive errors)
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy

Most Common Childhood Vision Problems

  • Blurred vision (called refractive errors)
  • Crossed eyes (called strabismus)
  • Lazy eye (called amblyopia)

Blurred vision (refractive errors)

  • Nearsightedness (called myopia) is when you can see clearly up close but blurry in the distance.
  • Farsightedness (called hyperopia) is when you can see clearly in the distance but blurry up close.
  • If you are older than 40 and have trouble reading small print or focusing up close, this is usually due to a condition called presbyopia. One in every three people 40 years or older in the U.S. will need glasses to read smaller print.
  • Astigmatism is another condition that causes blurred vision, but it is because of the shape of the cornea.

These conditions affect the shape of the eye and, in turn, how the eye sees. They can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, and in some cases surgery.

What are the risk factors for developing refractive errors?

  • Family history – parent(s) who have one or more refractive errors
  • Advancing age – presbyopia affects most adults over age 35

Crossed Eyes (strabismus)

Strabismus occurs when the eyes do not line up or they are crossed. One eye, however, usually remains straight at any given time. Common forms of strabismus include:

  • Esotropia – one or both eyes turn inward toward the nose
  • Exotropia – one or both eyes turn out; also called wall-eyed
  • Hypertropia – one or both eyes turn up
  • Hypotropia – one or both eyes turn down

If detected early in life, strabismus can be treated and even reversed.

If left untreated strabismus can cause amblyopia.

What are the risk factors for strabismus?

  • Family history of strabismus
  • Having a significant amount of uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia)
  • Disabilities such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy
  • Stroke or head injury

Lazy Eye (amblyopia)

Amblyopia — often called lazy eye — is a problem that is common in children.

Amblyopia is a result of the brain and the eyes not working together. The brain ignores visual information from one eye, which causes problems with vision development.

Treatment for amblyopia works well if the condition is found early. If untreated, amblyopia causes permanent vision loss.

What are the risk factors for amblyopia?

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Retinopathy of prematurity diagnosis
  • Cerebral palsy diagnosis
  • Intellectual disability diagnosis
  • Family history of certain eye conditions
  • Maternal smoking, drug or alcohol use
  • Surgery on eye muscles for esotropia (eyes turn in toward nose)

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

All people with diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are at risk for DR. It is caused by damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye (retina). The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely he or she will get DR.

People with this condition may not notice any changes to their vision until the damage to the eyes is severe. This is why it is so important for people with diabetes to have a comprehensive eye exam every year.

There are four stages of DR. During the first three stages of DR, treatment is usually not needed. To prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes should control their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. For the fourth stage of DR, called proliferative retinopathy, there are treatments that reduce vision loss, but are not a cure for DR.

Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy includes blurred vision, gradual vision loss, floaters, shadows or missing areas of vision, and difficulty seeing at nighttime.

People with diabetes are at greater risk for cataract and glaucoma as well.

What are the risk factors for diabetic retinopathy?

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes
  • Poor control of blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Being African American or Hispanic
  • Smoking
Normal vision Vision with diabetic retinopathy

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision needed to see straight-ahead. It affects the part of the eye called the macula that is found in the center of the retina. The macula lets a person see fine detail and is needed for things like reading and driving.

The more common dry form of AMD can be treated in the early stages to delay vision loss and possibly prevent the disease from progressing to the advanced stage. Taking certain vitamins and minerals may reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.

The less common wet form of AMD may respond to treatment, if diagnosed and treated early.

What are the risk factors for AMD?

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes
  • Poor control of blood sugar level
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy
  • Being African American or Hispanic
  • Smoking
Normal vision Vision with AMD

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

There are different types of glaucoma, but all of them cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight” because people don’t usually notice a problem until some vision is lost.

The most common type of glaucoma happens because of slowly increasing fluid pressure inside the eyes.

Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be corrected. But if it is found early, vision loss can be slowed or stopped. A comprehensive eye exam is important so glaucoma can be found early.

What are the risk factors for glaucoma? Anyone can have glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk of developing the disease.

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • Those with a family history of glaucoma
Normal vision Vision with glaucoma

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. It often leads to poor vision at night, especially while driving, due to glare from bright lights.

Cataracts are most common in older people, but can also occur in young adults and children.

Cataract treatment is very successful and widely available.

What are the risk factors for cataracts?

  • Age, cataracts are more common after age 60
  • Certain diseases such as diabetes
  • Smoking and alcohol use
  • Too much exposure to sunlight
Normal vision Vision with cataract

Photos courtesy of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

Different Types of Visions

Everyone has different vision types according to one’s health and living style. Some visual conditions of every patient can same but vision types can different. Here, we are describing different vision types so that you can understand them.

1. 20/20 vision:

20/20 vision is used to define a certain level of visual acuity. It is related to sharpness and precision of vision. 20/20 vision means you can see clearly the object at the distance of 20 feet. It does not mean you have a perfect vision. It means you can see clearly at some specific distance. There are many other essential eye condition that is not related to visual acuity. You can take help of RX Safety Glasses to see things clearly at distant places.

2. 20/100 vision:

20/100 vision is very rare. In this vision, a person can see clearly at a distance of 100 feet. He/she can see as clear as a person of normal 20/20 vision can see at 20 feet.

3. 20/10 vision:

In this vision, a person is above average. 20/10 vision person is better than normal standard vision’s person. A person can see easily at a distance of 20 feet away. A normal person can see clearly at 10 feet distances from an eye chart.

5. 20/60,70,80 vision:

In this vision level a person can see at a distance of 20 feet and a normal vision person can see at a distance of 60, 70, and 80. A person is able to read large headlines of a newspaper. You can wear 3M safety Glasses to read any print material easily.

4. 20/200 vision:

In this level of vision, a person is considered to be legally blind. In this vision level, a person can see at a distance of 20 feet away. While a normal vision’s person can see at a distance of 100 feet away.

Common eyes conditions

  • Farsightedness:

This is also called as hyperopia or opposite of nearsightedness. In these conditions, a person can see the far away objects. But close objects give a blurred view. Farsightedness can be treated like myopia.

  • Nearsightedness:

This is called as myopia. A person can see close objects but find blur view at distance objects. Most people are affected by these conditions. This is easily treated by Prescription Safety Glasses or contact lenses.

  • Presbyopia:

This type of condition appears when the eye’s lens becomes more flexible. This happens as you age up or reach more than 40 years. A presbyopia person cannot see clearly close objects. It can treat easily by reading glasses. You can avail the chance to buy Online RX Safety Glasses.

  • Astigmatism:

In this situation, eyes focus on two different points instead of one. Eyes lens is not in a spherical shape, that’s why Astigmatism is produced. It causes a headache, blur vision, eyestrain, discomfort, and night vision problem. It can control by Prescription eyeglasses or contact lens.

  • Macular degeneration:

The center part of eye retina is mostly affected by this disease. This is the part of eyes that receives and sends information to the brain. It is started as a gray or black spot in the center of eyes and gradually increase. It is not incurable but can less its growth.

  • Glaucoma:

Glaucoma has no specific symptoms but it is not painful. With regular eye exam, you can slow down its growth.

  • Cataract:

Cataract can happen to one eye or both eyes. It makes the lens cloudy and you can see the blurred image of objects.

Generally, visual acuity is checked on the eye chart with numbers and letters. A regular eye exam can save you from any severity. In case of a new prescription, you can order by Online Prescription Eyewear from any store.

Roadmap to Living with Vision Loss: What Kinds of Services Will You Need to Maintain Independence?

Prepare for your examination by thinking through what you will need to take with you and what you want to know. During the examination, be sure to ask questions.

Step 3: Investigate Additional Vision Rehabilitation Services and Resources

Vision rehabilitation services can help you function safely and independently in critically important daily living areas:

  1. Independent movement and travel such as getting around indoors, walking with a guide, using a long white cane, crossing streets, using public transportation, and using electronic travel devices.
  2. Continuing to read and write
  3. Independent living and personal management such as preparing meals, managing money, labeling medications, making home repairs, enjoying crafts and hobbies,and shopping.
  4. Learning about using a computer or tablet, using a phone, and telling time
  5. Job training and vocational rehabilitation services such as vocational evaluation, job training and placement, workplace adaptations, and workplace technology
  6. Counseling and peer support groups to help you and your family members with adjusting to vision loss and managing stress, anxiety, and depression.

What Types of Benefits Are Available to Me?

If you are legally blind, you may be eligible for some disability benefits, such as income tax exemptions and Social Security. Other benefits, such as property tax exemptions and accessible public transportation, may vary from state to state, but every state offers vision rehabilitation services (blindness skills training) that can help with independent living and/or employment. You may also qualify for the free Library of Congress talking book program and receive free audio books and a player.

Don’t Give Up

The types of vision changes described here can affect how you get around and how you go about your everyday activities. Although a change in vision can involve difficult emotional reactions and adjustments, people who have experienced a loss of vision can continue to go about their lives and activities and remain independent in their own homes. Read personal stories about how people just like you are coping and going about life with vision loss.

Most Common Eye Problems – Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

4: Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is basically a diabetes complication, which affects eyes by causing damage to the blood vessels spread throughout the light sensitive tissues of the retina (the back of the eye).

Anyone having type 1 or type 2 diabetes can develop this eye condition, especially those who have diabetes for a long time with fluctuating blood sugar levels. Usually, both eyes get affected by diabetic retinopathy.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

There might not be any noticeable symptoms through the early stages of this eye condition. When it progresses to later stages, following symptoms might appear eventually:

  • Dark spots or strings floating through your vision (floaters)
  • Impaired color recognition
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Vision loss

Treatment Options

There is no reliable way to cure retinopathy once it has progressed to advanced stages. However, photocoagulation (laser treatment for retinopathy) comes really handy in preventing vision loss if chosen before retina being severely damaged.

Another treatment option for diabetic retinopathy in its earlier stages is vitrectomy, a process through which vitreous gel is surgically removed while retina has not been severely damaged.

5: Dry Eyes Syndrome

One of the functions of tears is to keep your eyes lubricated, and when they fail to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes, you are being affected by dry eye syndrome. From your body being unable to produce enough tears to production of low quality tears, there can be a host of reasons behind inadequate lubrication for your eyes.

You can experience stinging or burning sensation when you have dry eyes, which can be experienced under certain situations, such as in an air-conditioned room, while traveling on an airplane or looking at a computer screen for a long time without any breaks.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eyes Syndrome

  • A burning, scratchy or stinging sensation in eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Mucus production in or around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Issues in wearing contact lenses

Different treatment options can be used for dry eyes syndrome depending upon the reason behind the eye problem. Some most commonly used treatment options include:

  • OTC (Over-the-counter) topical medications: These can be used when your dry eyes syndrome is mild in nature. Artificial tears, gels and ointments can be some of the commonly used OTC medications to treat mild dry eyes.
  • Prescription Medications: FDA approves only ‘Lifitegrast’ and ‘Cyclosporine’ as prescription dry eye medications. To deal with eye inflammation, ‘Corticosteroid’ eye drops may also be prescribed as short-term treatment.
  • Devices: There are also some FDA-approve devices that serve to temporarily relieve you from dry eyes by stimulation of nerves and glands responsible for tear production.
  • Surgical Options: Your eye care professional may resort to insertion of silicone-based punctal plugs to partially or completely plug tear ducts through the inner corners of your eyes to ensure tears aren’t draining from the eye.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle based enhancements also prove helpful in dealing with dry eyes syndrome. Taking periodic breaks or cutting your screen exposure can be really helpful. Avoiding warmer temperatures also helps in doing so.

6: Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)

Conjunctivitis, also known to many as pinkeye is a condition that inflames the tissues lining the back of your eyelids and covering your sclera (conjunctiva). As a result of this, your eyes can turn itchy, red, blurry, teary and discharging, sometimes also giving you a feeling that something is in your eyes. It is also one of the most commonly prevailing eye problems.

Though it is highly contagious (readily affecting children), but rarely serious, quite unlikely to damage your vision, more so when identified and treated early.

Types of Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is categorized into three main types:

1: Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: Mostly affects people already suffering from seasonal allergies, when they contact with something that triggers an allergic reaction within their eyes.
  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: Caused due to long term presence of a foreign body in an eye, affecting people wearing hard or rigid contact lenses or the soft ones not being replaced frequently.

2. Infectious Conjunctivitis

  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: This is the type of eye infection caused mostly by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria that’s transferred to your eyes via your own respiratory system or skin.
  • Viral Conjunctivitis: Contagious viruses thriving in common cold are mostly responsible for spread of this type of conjunctivitis, thus affecting people by exposure to the sneezing or coughing of someone suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection.
  • Ophthalmia Neonatorum: One of the most severe forms of bacterial conjunctivitis specifically affecting newborn babies, also capable of causing permanent eye damage if not treated immediately.

3: Chemical Conjunctivitis

This spreads as a result of exposure to noxious chemicals, chlorine in swimming pools or even air pollution.

Signs and Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

  • Redness appearing in the eyelid or through the white of the eye
  • Swelling in the conjunctiva
  • Excessive tearing
  • Thick yellowish discharge, mostly covering whole eyelashes, especially after sleep
  • Itching and burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Extra sensitivity to light

Appropriate treatment options for conjunctivitis vary depending upon the cause of this eye condition.

  • Allergic Conjunctivitis: It must start with avoiding exposure to the irritant(s). Artificial tears and cool compresses suffice in case of mild intensity of the disease. Antihistamines or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed in case of severe allergic conjunctivitis. And for people with persistent allergic conjunctivitis, topical steroid eye drops may be the appropriate option.
  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis: Antibiotic eye drops or ointments work well for this type of conjunctivitis, mostly requiring 3 to 4 days of treatment for reasonable recovery. However, it’s highly recommended that patients complete the entire course of antibiotics to totally avoid recurrence.
  • Viral Conjunctivitis: Viral conjunctivitis cannot be treated with drops, ointments or some antibiotics until the virus runs its course like common cold. This may take up to about 2-3 weeks.
  • Chemical Conjunctivitis: The standard treatment for chemical conjunctivitis includes thorough flushing of the eyes using saline water. In some cases, people might need to go for topical steroids.

7: Retinal Detachment

When the retina is separated or detached from its underlying tissues holding it in its place within the eye, the instance is referred as the retinal detachment. Sometimes, it all begins with small areas of the retina being torn (attributed as retinal tears or retinal breaks), eventually leading to retinal detachment. The longer you take in treatment of retinal detachment, the greater your chances of total vision loss in the affected eye are.

Types of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is segregated into three basic types:

  • Rhegmatogenous: These are the most common of all retinal detachments whereby a small break or tear appears within the retina, resulting in flow of the fluid underneath the retina, eventually separating it from the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is pigmented cell layer responsible for nourishment of the retina.
  • Tractional: In this type, the retina detaches due to the contraction of the scar tissue on surface of retina, resulting in its separation from the PRE. Tractional detachment is not so common.
  • Exudative: This sort of detachment takes place due to eye injury/trauma, inflammatory disorders and other such retinal diseases. In exudative detachments, the retina suffers no tears or breaks despite the fluid leaking underneath it.

Signs and Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Though you don’t suffer any pain through the retinal detachment, but it is almost always followed by certain warning signs, such as:

  • Sudden appearance of floaters (tiny specks drifting through your field of vision) in the affected eye
  • Sudden appearance of light flashes in one or both eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Steadily receding peripheral or side vision
  • Presence of a curtain-like shadow through your field of vision

Cryopexy (a freeze treatment) or laser surgery is used by an ophthalmologist to treat small holes and tears. Tiny burns are made around the damaged area to “weld” the retina back into place, whereas “cryopexy” is used to freeze the area around the weld, helping reattach the retina.

Vitrectomy may also be performed in some cases, during which a tiny incision is made in the white of the eye (the sclera). Sometimes, it also involves removing vitreous (a gel-like substance filled in the center of the eye) by means of a specialized instrument, and injecting gas into the eye to push retina back to its appropriate position.

8: Uveitis

This is the name collectively given to a group of eye diseases causing inflammation in the uvea, eye’s middle layer containing the most blood vessels. Uveitis may also result in destruction of eye tissue, leading to the loss of eye in some cases.

Signs and Symptoms of Uveitis

The symptoms of uveitis may vanish quickly or last a long time. People affected with AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and other such immune system conditions are highly likely to suffer from uveitis. Some major symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Pain in the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Redness of the eye

Types of Uveitis

Uveitis is mostly described by the part of the eye it affects.

  • Anterior Uveitis: Affecting the front of the eyes, this is the most widely existing type of uveitis found commonly in young and middle-aged people.
  • Intermediate Uveitis: Commonly found in young adults, intermediate uveitis often hits the virteous. It is also linked to a host of disorders like sarcoidosis and multiple sclerosis.
  • Posterior Uveitis: Least common of all, posterior uveitis primarily affects the back of the eye, mostly involving the retina as well as the choroid. That is why it is also referred sometimes as choroditis or chorioretinitis.
  • Pan-Uveitis: This refers to the instance when inflammation occurs in all three major parts of the eye. One of the most famed forms of pan-uveitis is the Behcet’s disease, severely damaging the retina.

Uveitis treatment is dependent on the underlying cause and the area of the eye that’s affected, reducing nflammation in your eye being the primary objective here. Several treatment options are available:

1: Medications

  • Inflammation Reducing Drugs: Your eye doctor may resort to some anti-inflammatory medication based eye drops, such as corticosteroid. If it is unable to resolve the issue, a corticosteroid pill or injection can be the next options.
  • Bacteria/Virus Fighting Drugs: if some sort of infection is the underlying cause of your uveitis, your ophthalmologist can prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medications to control the infection, with or without corticosteroids.
  • Immunosuppressive Drugs: Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic drugs are used to treat uveitis if it has affected both eyes, because at this stage, it doesn’t respond well to corticosteroids and can potentially threaten your vision.2: Surgical and Other Options.

2: Surgical and Other Options

  • Vitrectomy: A surgical procedure used for removal of excessive vitreous in your eye can be the only way out in some cases.
  • Device Implanting Eye Surgery for Slow and Sustained Medication: Posterior uveitis, which is very difficult to treat otherwise, may be treated by implanting a device in eye. The device is introduced in the eye for slowly releasing corticosteroid medications for about two to three years.

Recurrence is also a possibility with uveitis. Consult your eye doctor immediately in case of experiencing any of the associated symptoms.

9: Eyestrain

Another of the most commonly existing eye problems, eyestrain refers to a common condition in which your eyes get tiresome and fatigued due to intense use; for instance, after looking at a computer screen (or other digital screens) for prolonged time period and driving long distances.

Eyestrain can be quite irritating sometimes, but still not capable of seriously inflicting your eyes or vision. It normally fades out after you rest your eyes and follow other ways to sooth your eyes.

Signs and Symptoms of Eyestrain

In some instances, signs and symptoms of eyestrain point out towards other underlying eye condition(s) needing treatment. Some common symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Soreness, tiredness, burning or itching in eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • High light sensitivity
  • Difficulty in keeping your eyes open

Some methods commonly used by eye doctors to treat eyestrain symptoms include:

  • Taking frequent breaks from digital screens and reading activities.
  • Improving your home environment, lifestyle and work habits, thus inculcating more breaks for your eyes.
  • In case of dry eyes and blinking problem, your doctor might recommend artificial tears.
  • Natural treatments like a yoga program, visual cleansing exercises and relaxation routines to lessen stress within your eyes and head.

10: Night Blindness (Nyctalopia)

‘Nyctalopia’ or night blindness is a kind of vision impairment in which people are unable to see rightly at night or in other dimly lit environments. Unlike commonly perceived, night blindness doesn’t totally prevent you from seeing at night. You might only feel increased difficulty in seeing or driving in places not adequately lit.

Night blindness is not considered to be a disease itself; it’s more like a symptom of some other eye problem like untreated nearsightedness.

Signs and Symptoms of Night Blindness

The only symptom associated with night blindness is increased difficulty seeing things in dark. It seems to be effecting more when your eyes undergo a transition from a properly lit environment to a lowly lit environment.

Similarly, you’ll have problems driving at night due to sporadic nature of vehicle’s headlights and streetlights on roads.

Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose night blindness after thoroughly examining your eyes. Some types of blindness have got a treatment, while others don’t. Once your doctor has determined the underlying cause of your blindness, you can start taking appropriate treatment.

Night blindness caused due to cataracts, nearsightedness or vitamin A deficiency can be treated with corrective lenses like contacts or eyeglasses.

11: Color Blindness

Color blindness, also known as color deficiency is an eye condition when the pigments found in eye cones have some problem and you cannot see the colors in the normal manner.

Red-green colorblindness, the most common form of color blindness, is a type of vision impairment where a person is unable to differentiate between red and green colors.

Similarly, there is blue-yellow color blindness as well and people suffering from it almost always have red-green color blindness as well.

In rare cases, the cones lack any color pigments at all, so the eyes can’t see any color at all, the worst form of color blindness, also known as ‘achromatopsia’.

Color blindness is basically a genetic condition, which seems to be lenient with women than with men, affecting 1 out of every 10 men to some degree.

Signs and Symptoms of Color Blindness

  • Trouble distinguishing between different colors
  • Failure in seeing differing tones or shades of the same color

Unfortunately, color blindness still lacks a reliable cure, though glasses and contact lenses with filters are available to assist color deficiencies whenever needed. Luckily, most color blind people enjoy normal vision in all aspects but one, and all they require is certain adaptation methods.

12: Eye Floaters

Strings, black/gray specks or cobwebs drifting around with the movement of your eyes and darting away when trying to look through them, eye floaters are basically spots in your vision.

These are mostly produced due to age-related changes taking place through the jelly-like substance (vitreous) within your eyes, turning into more and more liquid. This vitreous contains microscopic fibers, which tend to cast tiny shadows on your retina when vitreous clump away. These shadows are what floaters are all about.

Signs and Symptoms of Eye Floaters

Some common symptoms associated with eye floaters include:

  • Appearance of dark specks or transparent strings floating around within your vision
  • Movement of the spots in correspondence with the movement of your eyes, quickly moving out of your visual field when looked upon
  • High visibility of the spots when looked at against a plain bright background like a white wall or blue sky

Rarely, the density and frequency of floaters gets to the point that they start significantly affecting your vision, thus needing vitrectomy. This surgical procedure is used to remove the vitreous gel, also removing the floating debris contained within it and relieving your eye.

13: Nearsightedness (Myopia)

When you can view the objects close to you clearly enough, while getting a blurry vision of the objects far away, this eye condition is referred as myopia or nearsightedness. This happens because of irregular bending of light (refraction) due to the shape of your eye. The resultant images are focused in front of your retina rather than being focused right on it.

Near sightedness seems to be running in families, developing either gradually or rapidly, getting severe mostly during childhood and adolescence.

Signs and Symptoms of Nearsightedness

Major symptoms may include:

  • Vision getting blurry when looking at distant objects
  • Requiring squinting or partial closing of the eyelids to get a clear vision of something
  • Eyestrain leading to headaches
  • Difficulty viewing objects while driving a vehicle, particularly at night (night myopia)

Different options are available as myopia treatment, such as corrective glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. You might need to wear your glasses all day long or just when you want to have a sharp distant vision (watching a movie, driving, etc.), depending upon the intensity of your myopia.

14: Farsightedness (Hypermetropia)

Unlike myopia, hypermetropia or farsightedness refers to an eye condition when you have a clear vision looking at far placed things, while getting a blurry vision of nearby objects.

If you feel tiredness in your eyes quite often, coupled with problems focusing on close by objects, you might be suffering from hypermetropia.

Signs and Symptoms of Farsightedness

  • Vision getting blurry for objects close by
  • Need to squint for getting a better vision
  • Headache hitting after tasks needing your focus on close by objects

Corrective glasses and contact lenses are some of the most common ways of treating hypermetropia. Other treatments like LASIK surgery is also advisable for adults suffering from mild to moderate levels of farsightedness.

15: Astigmatism

When your vision gets out of focus due to the abnormally curved cornea (the clear tissue lining the front of the eye), this eye disorder is referred as ‘astigmatism’ or ‘keratoconus’.

People having a family history of acute astigmatism are highly susceptible to this eye problem. Moreover, people using power tools without wearing safety glasses are also prone to the injuries resulting in acquired astigmatism.

Signs and Symptoms of Astigmatism

While astigmatism may exhibit different symptoms for different persons, some might not have any symptoms at all. Some of the symptoms associated with astigmatism include:

  • Distorted and blurry vision at close range as well as at a distance
  • Difficulty in seeing things at night
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Eye irritation

Astigmatism can be treated in a host of ways including corrective contact lenses, eyeglasses, laser surgery as well as other refractive surgery procedures. LASIK (Laser in Situ Keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) are also used to treat astigmatism.

16: Presbyopia

Human eyes’ inability to focus on nearby objects due to gradual loss of vision is referred as “Presbyopia”, an eye disease normally associated with aging. Mostly, it remains unnoticeable until early to mid 40s and continues progression until 65 years of age or so.

Most people become aware of presbyopia only when they feel compelled to hold books, newspapers and other reading materials at arm’s length to be able to read something on them. It can be detected with the help of a basic eye exam.

Signs and Symptoms of Presbyopia

Presbyopia progresses really slowly, first significant symptoms surfacing after 40 years of age and some of them are:

  • Blurry vision and inability to read at normal reading distance
  • Eyestrain (mostly accompanied with headaches) as a result of activities requiring close-up vision

Treatments for presbyopia aim at assisting your eyes in focusing nearby objects. Corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, refractive surgery or lens implantation for presbyopia are some of the mostly sought after treatment options for this eye disease.

17: Proptosis

The phenomenon of protrusion of the eyeball is referred as “Proptosis”, also termed as “Exophthalmos” when such protrusion is caused by the “Graves’ disease”. Orbital mass or inflammation, thrombosis of cavernous sinus, fistulas and expansion of orbital bones are some of the common reasons behind this abnormal protrusion of eyeballs.

Signs and Symptoms of Proptosis

  • Eye pain and irritation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye secretions (lacrimation)
  • Blurry vision
  • Diplopia (double vision resulting from weakened eye muscles)

In severe cases of proptosis, an ophthalmologist mostly suggests lubrication for corneal protection. When lubrication fails to work, experts resort to surgery, which results in improved coverage of the exposed eye surface. Orbital congestion due to inflammatory orbital pseudotumor or thyroid eye disease is treated with specific systemic corticosteroids. And for cavernous sinus caused by arteriovenous fistulas, selective embolization works best.

18: Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus (or “Crossed Eyes”) represents misaligned eyes pointing in different directions and this misalignment can either be intermittent or constant. Strabismus exists in four common forms, i.e. “esotropia” and “exotropia”, “hypotropia” and “hypertropia”.

Esotropia is when one eye fixates on an object/point of interest, while the other eye turns in; whereas exotropia is when it turns out. Similarly, turning down of the other eye while one fixes at a point is hypotropia and hypertropia is when it turns up.

Strabismus usually occurs because the muscles controlling the movements of the eye and the eyelid, the extraocular muscles, fail to do so in a coordinative manner. Moreover, a disorder in the brain affecting the coordination of the extraocular muscles can also become the cause of strabismus. It can affect children as well as adults and about 4 percent of US population is believed to be suffering from this eye disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Strabismus

  • Double vision
  • Eyes’ inability to focus on a particular point at the same time
  • Uncoordinated eye movements
  • Loss of depth perception

Strabismus is treated differently in kids and adults.

a. Strabismus Treatment Options for Kids

Strabismus in kids is treated preferably with eye patching, eye glasses, and/or atropine drops. If none of these prove effective, then an eye muscle surgery might be advised by your eye doctor, which involves tightening or loosening of the muscles causing the eye to wander. In most cases, kids can go home the same day after receiving surgical treatment.

b. Strabismus Treatment Options for Adults

Adults are treated differently for strabismus depending upon its severity, relying on various options ranging from observation to surgery. For treating minor to mild cases of strabismus, optical approaches including prism correction are preferred. If all such options run out, only then an ophthalmologist would advise for surgery after considering a host of factors and variants.

19: Macular Edema

Macula is the central region of the retina (constituted by the light sensitive tissues located at the back of the eye, wherein macula within the retina serves for sharp, straight-ahead vision) and unwanted buildup of fluids there is referred as the “Macular Edema”. Any accumulation of fluids inside the macula results in swelling and thickening of the macula, which leads to distorted vision.

Since the retina is richly populated with blood vessels, abnormal leakage of blood from damaged blood vessels there can result in fluid accumulation within the macula. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR – an eye disease mostly affecting diabetic people) is considered as one of the most common causes of macular edema. In fact, any eye disease damaging retinal blood vessels can lead to macular edema, such as age-related macular degeneration, an inflammatory disease sometimes, or even a wrongly performed eye surgery.

Signs and Symptoms of Macular Edema

Wavy or blurry vision in or around your central field of vision is considered as the very first symptom of macular edema in most cases. Some people also complain of colors appearing faded or washed. In fact, macular edema symptoms vary anywhere between slightly blurry vision to significant vision loss. If this disease attacks only one of your eyes, you may not even notice blurriness in your vision until the condition is already in advanced stage.

Treatment options for macular edema also vary according to the underlying cause of the disease and consequential fluid leakage and retinal swelling. Some of them include:

Eye-drops Medication: This serves best in treating cystoid macular edema, a type of macular edema that can potentially damage the macula after cataract surgery and comprises of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) eye-drops. Such treatment can last for a few months.

Steroid Treatment: When inflammation is the reason behind macular edema, your eye doctor may recommend steroid treatment, which can be administered in form of pills, eye-drops or injections.

Laser Treatment: As the name suggests, this surgery is about applying numerous tiny laser pulses to the regions of fluid leakage around the affected macula, so that leaking blood vessels can be sealed and vision can be stabilized.

Anti-VEGF Medication: This treatment is based on anti-VEGF drugs, which are administered to the damaged eye through a very slender needle. Anti-VEGF (anti vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs are meant to curb the growth of abnormal blood vessels in your retina, thus helping prevent unwanted fluid leakage.

Vitrectomy Surgery: Sometimes, macula undergoes vitreous pulling, which results in macular edema (vitreous is the jelly like substance filling the back of the eye). Under such circumstances, seasoned eye doctors resort to “Vitrectomy”, a procedure in which vitreous is removed from the eye using tiny instruments, also peeling off scar tissues damaging the macula due to traction.

Conclusion

Eyes are highly complex and sensitive of body parts requiring extra care preservation if you want them to last you long enough to live a healthy, vibrant and colorful life.

In addition to taking care of them personally, make sure to be observant about any problematic signs and symptoms and respond by consulting an eye doctor, so that your eyes can get professional care and treatment before it’s too late.

Four prevalent, different types of blindness

Most people think of blindness in the simplest terms: a person who can’t see. In actuality, blindness is more complex. In fact, there are many different types of blindness and visual impairment.

Some blind people truly see nothing, while others see light, shadows or objects that are close by. Vision loss can start at birth or gradually decline. Blindness can stem from a problem with the eye itself or be caused by a disorder in the brain.

Different types of blindness can affect anyone: you, your parents, a friend, your child or anyone else. Learn more about the types of blindness that exist.

CVI

CVI, or cortical/cerebral visual impairment, is the leading cause of modern day blindness in children. Unlike ocular forms of visual impairment, CVI is a brain-based disorder, and often coexists with an additional visual impairment.

Since the issue exists in the brain, people with this diagnosis have challenges processing what their healthy eyes are seeing. A child with CVI, for example, may see the world as a swirling mass of color.

Today, it’s estimated more than 60 percent of kids who are blind have CVI. But while CVI is the fastest growing cause of blindness in children in the U.S., too few educators and medical professionals are equipped to diagnose and intervene. Meaning countless kids are missing out on crucial opportunities to develop and thrive. When a specially trained educator works with a child with CVI and his or her family, the child’s life can improve dramatically. There is even a possibility of helping the child recover use of their vision to varying degrees.

Watch this video and hear one family’s journey with CVI.

Want to learn more about CVI? Visit the Perkins CVI Hub for more information about CVI, diagnosis, research and methods that can help children with the disorder.

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder, which affects up to one in 4,000 people in the U.S. and across Europe, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. People with this eye condition often have trouble seeing at night and experience a loss of peripheral vision due to the gradual breakdown in cells of the retina. It’s most commonly detected in early childhood, and can lead to total blindness later in life.

Interested in learning more about the symptoms and diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa? Start here for a brief overview.

For people and families diagnosed with this condition, it’s important to understand the effects and progression of the disease in order to optimize quality of life. At Perkins School for the Blind, students with this eye condition learn to achieve their full potential and become strong capable adults. Watch one blind youtuber talk about her life with Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is another one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the U.S.

There are a few types of this condition, but the most common is called dry macular degeneration. This type of visual impairment is found in adults, and causes a person’s central vision to deteriorate. In children, a genetic disorder called Stargardt Syndrome looks very similar to macular degeneration because of the way both conditions affect one’s vision.

Diagnosis of macular degeneration can be done during routine visual exams or eye screenings. Find the help you or your loved one needs to diagnose and live with Macular Degeneration from the Macular Degeneration Foundation.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity is an eye disease which occurring in babies born prematurely. It begins when blood vessels in the eye leak or bleed, resulting in scarring of the eye and retinal detachment. Although surgeries can lessen the severity of the visual impairment, children born with the condition often have little to no eye sight.

Retinopathy of prematurity can manifest at birth, but cannot be detected without proper eye examination. Despite the severity of vision loss often connected to this condition, people with this diagnosis are more than capable of achieving their goals. Check out this article illustrating accomplishments of young blind people, some of whom have retinopathy of prematurity.

The spectrum of blindness and visual impairment varies widely from person to person. There are countless types of vision loss which affect everyone differently at different stages of life. The many types of blindness can be due to genetics, cancer, difficulties at birth, or other diseases discovered later in life. No matter the cause or symptoms, though, people with all types of blindness can live fulfilling lives with the right adaptations, assistance and services. A little research and the right questions are key to the success of a loved one or friend with a visual impairment.

Perkins School for the Blind is always here to provide resources and support. We offer a wide variety of educational and services and resources on our campus and in public schools to support children and young adults with blindness.

Visit our Services page for more information.

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