With millions of people falling victim to eye disorders in the United States, it seems that the common eye disorder may be a little more common than one might like it to be. With that in mind, it is crucial to be aware of any visual impairments or irregularities, but equally as crucial to remember that not every itch or sign of puffiness warrants a trip to the doctor. Below are a few common eye disorders to look out for as you unleash your visual stream of consciousness.
- Astigmatism. This disorder causes blurred and distorted vision as a result of a misshapen cornea. (A normal cornea takes a round shape to effectively focus light.) The standard treatment is a prescription for corrective contact lenses, but some opt for refractive surgeries like LASIK.
- Glaucoma. The aggregate of eye diseases, glaucoma can strike at any age and cause you to develop a loss of peripheral vision, nausea and more. Also be aware that if you notice halos taking shape around bright lights, you aren’t witnessing anything supernatural, you’re experiencing a common symptom of glaucoma. If left untreated, glaucoma can target and destroy fibers connecting the eye to the brain. This disease remains without a cure, but can be treated and mitigated with medication and, in extreme cases, surgery.
- Macular degeneration. Serving as the leading cause of blindness among middle-aged and elderly Americans, macular degeneration develops over a long period of time as either the macula deteriorates or blood vessels develop, cluster, and begin to bleed under the eye. Symptoms to look out for include vision loss as well as empty spots in your field of vision. One might be advised to see an eye doctor for consultation on the disease, as it generally stands as a disease that goes unnoticed, especially as the brain has a natural tendency to fill in any visual blank spots on its own.
- Conjunctivitis (Pink eye). Though many normally fear their children will catch this bacterial infection of the conjunctiva (a membrane that sits on the edge of your eyelid), adults should be just as fearful of this disorderly annoyance. The “pink” part of the disease is a result of blood vessels in the conjunctiva becoming inflamed, bulging the blood vessels around your eyelids and eyeball. While it would be advised to see your eye doctor if your case is severe, pink eye will clear itself away with proper antibacterial cleaning and care. (And of course, a self-motivated lack of rubbing.)
- Allergies. Another disorder of the conjunctiva, eye allergies are a result of exposure to dangerous airborne particles that cause inflammation and, therefore, redness and itching. Although most allergies are seasonal (watch out for the sting of the spring and fall air), it is not impossible to have allergies year-round, particularly if you live in an environment plagued by dust mites. Most allergies can be eased away with eye drops and anti-inflammatories, but you may want to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for further consultation on the severity of your allergies.
Common eye disorders and diseases vary in their detrimental effects on your eye health, and therefore you should consult your doctor accordingly. If you go year after year with eye allergies and watch as they come and go, your eye doctor probably won’t be able to advise you with anything you haven’t been told in the past. If, however, you have more severe symptoms that could be a variety of different disorders (as is typically the case), it is strongly advised that you schedule an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to get your symptoms under control sooner rather than later.