Common Eye Conditions
Myopia, commonly called shortsightedness, is a condition in which light is focused in front of the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Shortsighted people can often see reasonably clearly at short distances, but will not be able to see distant objects clearly. There is currently no cure for myopia, but spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery can all provide good distance vision for people with myopia.
Hyperopia or longsightedness is a condition in which the optical components of the eye are not strong enough, and so light is not focused onto the retina. This results in blurred vision that is usually worse at shorter distances. People with hyperopia often have reasonable vision in the distance, but may find that their vision is blurred or that they experience feelings of eyestrain or headaches when doing near work such as reading.
Astigmatism is a condition where the optical power of the eye varies depending on the angle of light passing through it. Astigmatism produces blurred vision at all distances.
It is usually due to the shape of the cornea (the front surface of the eye). If the curvature of the cornea is not the same in all directions (like the side of an Australian football) it will bend the light passing through it by different amounts depending on the direction of the light, producing astigmatism.
Presbyopia is the gradual reduction in the amount that the eye can change its focus. The changes are the result of the continued growth of the biological lens inside the eye, and are a normal part of ageing.
Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable between the ages of 40 and 50 as an inability to focus on near objects. People in this age group often find that they have to hold things further away to see them clearly.
Presbyopia can be corrected by an optical prescription specifically designed for close work. This can be provided in many forms, including reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses (multifocals).
The macula is the central part of the retina which is responsible for our ability to see detail; you are using your macula to read this now. Macular Degeneration causes progressive macula damage resulting in loss of central vision. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People over the age of 50, smokers and those with a family history of the disease are thought to be most at risk. Early detection of Macular Degeneration is crucial as any vision lost cannot be regained.
Nutrition and Eye Health
While there is no cure for Macular Degeneration, there are measures that can be taken to optimise eye health and which may slow down the progression of the disease. Diet certainly plays a role in good eye health.
It has been well documented that Macular Degeneration responds to antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. For people most at risk or with Macular degeneration there are preparations available such as Blackmores Macu-Vision or Lutein-Vision which are specifically formulated for Macular Degeneration. HoweowHowever any supplements or changes to diet and lifestyle should be undertaken in consultation with a doctor as some ingredients may interact with prescription medications.
A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to ageing, they are very common in older people. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes, but cannot spread from one eye to the other. Contrary to common belief, a cataract is not a film over the eye.
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterised by damage to the optic nerve, usually due to excessively high intraocular pressure (IOP). This increased pressure within the eye, if untreated, can lead to optic nerve damage resulting in progressive, permanent vision loss. In addition to high intraocular pressure, damage can also be caused by poor blood supply to the optic nerve fibres, weakness in the structure of the nerve, or a problem in the health of the nerve fibres themselves. Through early detection, diagnosis and treatment, you and your doctor can help to preserve your vision.