Myopia - Nearsightedness, difficulty seeing far away. This occurs when your eyeball is too long or your cornea has too much curvature.
Hyperopia - Farsightedness, difficulty seeing close up. This occurs when your eyeball is too short or your cornea has too little curvature.
Presbyopia - “older age-related vision” This occurs when you reach a certain age, usually after 40. It becomes difficult to read and/or focus on things up close. The crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, requiring us to use reading glasses.
Astigmatism - This occurs when the light rays entering your eyes are focused at different points in the eye. Normally the eye is spherical like a basketball. The astigmatic eye has uneven curvature similar to the shape of a football.
Strabismus - “Crossed-eyes” This occurs when one or both of your eyes turns in, out, up, or down. This is a result of poor eye muscle control. This usually develops during childhood.
Lazy eye - Also known as amblyopia, this is blurred vision despite a spectacle correction. This is caused from lack of development in one eye that is unrelated to any health problem. This is associated with crossed-eyes or a big difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between your eyes. This condition often occurs in early childhood, in an estimated 1-5% of the population. Early detection, especially before the age of 5 greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.
Spots and floaters - These are spots that you may see that are small, semi-transparent, and sometimes cloudy. They are particles in the vitreous, which is the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They are mobile within the eye since your eye is constantly moving and may go away if you look directly at them.
Diabetic retinopathy - Diabetes is a disease that interferes with your body’s ability to use and store sugar. This disease can cause many health problems. This particular problem is the result of the growth of abnormal blood vessels that nourish your eye’s retina.
Cataract - This is a clouding of part or all of the normally clear lens within your eye. The result can cause blurred or distorted vision. There are surgical procedures to remove cataracts.
Glaucoma - This is a disease where the internal pressure in your eye increases enough to damage the optic nerve and retinal nerve fibers. This can cause vision loss and blindness if not treated properly. Many times glaucoma has no symptoms until it is very advanced.
Macular degeneration - This is the leading cause of blindness over the age of 65. It is caused from changes to the macula, which is a part of the retina responsible for clear, sharp vision in the back of the eye.
Keratoconus - This is a disease of the eye, specifically of the cornea. The cornea thins and bulges out into an irregular cone shape. It is this irregularity that causes light passing through the cornea to become distorted making the vision hard to correct.
What causes Keratoconus?
The simple answer is that no one is sure. Genetics seem to play a part but it doesn’t always run in families (although sometimes it does). Too much eye rubbing can make it worse, and may be one of the reasons for getting it in the first place. Problems with badly fitting contact lenses may play a part. But… there is no one answer that everyone agrees on. There are also different opinions on how rare it is. Numbers range from 1 in 500 to 1 in 2000. So, it’s not exactly common, but not rare either.
Can Keratoconus damage vision?
Keratoconus does not make people go blind. However, the changes to the cornea will make it impossible for the eye to focus without eyeglasses or contact lenses and refractive surgery is very dangerous and contraindicated for patients with keratoconus.
How is Keratoconus treated?
Only a doctor experienced in treating eye problems can recommend the right treatment for someone with keratoconus. New eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again in mild cases of keratoconus. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses. Rigid contact lenses are used most frequently in keratoconus patients. Drs. Kline, Boyd and Chivers use many types of contacts to treat keratoconus. We are one of the few offices in the country that uses hybrid designs such as the Synergeyes lens to treat keratoconus. This lens gives the comfort of a soft lens, with the vision benefits of a rigid gas permeable lens.
Please visit www.nkcf.org – National Keratoconus Foundation for more information