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Archive | Conditions & Disorders

Eye Conditions & Vision Disorders


Refractive Error


The eye acts like a camera with two focusing components – the cornea and the natural crystalline lens. Clear image viewing is dependent on the light bending properties of these structures.  The retina acts like the film of the camera, receiving the focused light rays. When light is ideally focused, an eye may see 20/20.  Conversely, when light rays are not optimally focused, images may appear blurry.  This is called a “refractive error.”  The eye can have one or a combination of refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.

Abnormal Facial Movements

Abnormal facial movements describe conditions involving spasms, twitches or tics of the muscles around the eyes or face. Involuntary contraction of both eyelids is called blepharospasm. Involuntary contractions affecting the other muscles of the face as well as the eyelid muscle is called hemifacial spasm or Meige syndrome, depending on whether one or both sides of the face are affected.

Blepharospasm is thought to be caused by altered activity in part of the brain called the basal ganglia, while hemifacial spasm may result from a blood vessel or another structure in the brain pressing on the facial nerve (the nerve allowing for facial muscle movement).
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Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes point in different directions from each other. It is commonly referred to as a “crossed eyes” or “wandering eyes” or a “lazy eye.” There are different types of strabismus including eyes that turn in, turn out or turn up or down. In-turning eyes are the most common kind in children. Strabismus may be present early in infancy or may develop later in life, though it is commonly first noted in childhood. Strabismus may be present constantly or only occasionally. The cause for strabismus is often not known, though there are some systemic conditions that may be associated with strabismus.

People with strabismus may note double vision or may not have any visual concerns. Treatment for strabismus depends on the type and may include glasses, prism lenses and/or surgery.
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Pink Eye

Conjunctivitis , commonly known as pink eye , is an infection of the conjunctiva (the outer-most layer of the eye that covers the sclera ). The three most common types of conjunctivitis are: viral , allergic , and bacterial . Each requires different treatments. With the exception of the allergic type, conjunctivitis is typically contagious.

The viral type is often associated with an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or sore throat. The allergic type occurs more frequently among those with allergic conditions. When related to allergies, the symptoms are often seasonal. Allergic conjunctivitis may also be caused by intolerance to substances such as cosmetics, perfume, or drugs. Bacterial conjunctivitis is often caused by bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. The severity of the infection depends on the type of bacteria involved.
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Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Nearsighted individuals typically have problems seeing well at a distance and are forced to wear glasses or contact lenses.  The nearsighted eye is usually longer than a normal eye, and its cornea may also be steeper.  Therefore, when light passes through the cornea and lens, it is focused in front of the retina.  This will make distant images appear blurred. There are several refractive surgery solutions available to correct nearly all levels of nearsightedness.
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Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Farsighted individuals typically develop problems reading up close before the age of 40.  The farsighted eye is usually slightly shorter than a normal eye and may have a flatter cornea. Thus, the light of distant objects focuses behind the retina unless the natural lens can compensate fully.  Near objects require even greater focusing power to be seen clearly and therefore, blur more easily. LASIK, Refractive Lens Exchange and Contact lenses are a few of the options available to correct farsightedness.

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Asymmetric steepening of the cornea or natural lens causes light to be focused unevenly, which is the main optical problem in astigmatism.  To individuals with uncorrected astigmatism, images may look blurry or shadowed.  Astigmatism can accompany any form of refractive error and is very common.
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Presbyopia is a condition that typically becomes noticeable for most people around age 45.  In children and young adults, the lens inside the eye can easily focus on distant and near objects.  With age, the lens loses its ability to focus adequately.
Although presbyopia is not completely understood, it is thought that the lens and its supporting structures lose the ability to make the lens longer during close vision effort.  To compensate, affected individuals usually find that holding reading material further away makes the image clearer.  Ultimately, aids such as reading glasses are typically needed by the mid-forties.
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