1. Amblyopia

Commonly referred to as “lazy eye”, this vision disorder is most common in young children. Amblyopia occurs when the brain plays favorites. It chooses to use only one eye, the good eye, while completely ignoring the weak eye. This can also occur when a child suffers from Strabismus, preventing the eyes from focusing together. When this happens, the brains chooses to ignore signals coming from the weak eye, and if left untreated, will lead to the deterioration of vision. Treatment must be done at the earliest signs of Amblyopia, and it includes wearing a patch over the stronger eye to force the brain to accept images from the weak eye.

2. Astigmatism

Astigmatism is caused by a non-symmetrical cornea, also known as the lens. It causes blurry or distorted vision at all distances. It can be hereditary, and is often found in those with parents who suffer from eye issues such as nearsightedness and/or farsightedness. Treatment includes eyeglasses, soft contact lenses or a corneal transplant when the astigmatism is too severe.

3. Cataracts

This cloudy eye disorder is the leading cause of vision loss in the US and the #1 cause of blindness around the world. Cataracts are the clouding of areas in the eye’s lens. It can occur slowly and is usually painless. Cataracts are removed via surgery. Patients immediately see results with their removal as light can naturally pass through the lens again.

4. Glaucoma

This condition is caused when the optic nerve is damaged due to fluid pressure buildup inside the eye. It is normally inherited and manifests itself late in life. Be sure to notify your optometrist if anyone in your family has had glaucoma before. If left undetected, it will get worse over time and the patient can suffer permanent vision loss. Without proper treatment, glaucoma will cause total blindness in just a few years. Treatments include eye drops and surgery.

5. Presbyopia

Technically, this is not a disease or disorder, but part of the natural aging process that usually starts at age 40. Presbyopia occurs when the eyes lose their natural ability to focus and see near objects due to the lenses losing flexibility. There is no treatment for presbyopia, although it is easily corrected using prescription eyeglasses, contacts or bifocals. Wearing a good pair of sunglasses can also help slow the process of presbyopia.

6. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD happens when the macula, the central portion of the retina, deteriorates over time. This causes mild to severe vision loss in people aged 60 and above. This disorder may be hereditary, and risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and obesity. There is no cure for AMD, but there are options to slow down its progression, such as surgery, anti-angiogenesis drugs, laser therapy and vitamin supplementation.

This is a serious condition wherein the retina gets separated from the tissues surrounding it. Abrupt, flashing lights and black spots usually appear when this happens, followed by what looks like a dark curtain covering your affected eye. This happens to extremely nearsighted people, cataract surgery patients, or those who suffered an eye injury. It could also be genetic. Treatment and repair must be done immediately or it may lead to permanent vision loss. There are many treatment options available, including surgery, laser therapy and cryopexy. Please seek urgent health care if you believe you have experienced retinal detachment.

8. Refractive Errors

Nearsightedness is blurred vision when looking at distant objects. Farsightedness is unfocused vision when looking at objects near you. Both conditions are easily treated with corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery.

With all these eye disorders plaguing millions of people, proper eye care and protection are paramount to keeping your peepers safe and serviceable until you grow old and grey. Regular eye exams and early detection are keys to ensure that these disorders don’t sneak in and rob you of your vision, so make it a point to schedule a visit to your eye doctor asap.

Don’t wait for the day you see the flashing lights. An eye exam is essential to avoid eye problems.

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