The eye is one of the most complex organs in your body. Much of the information you require for everyday living is obtained through your eyes. As with most complex systems, there are many things that can go wrong. Fortunately, most problems can be prevented or corrected provided they are detected early enough.
Short sighted people do not see distance object clearly. It is a common disorder affecting about 15-20% of the population. It usually begins to develop in teenagers and gets worse over the following few years.
Long sighted people have trouble seeing near objects clearly whilst distance objects usually remain clear. People compensate for longsightedness by exerting more focus effort and will often complain of eyestrain, tired eyes and/or headaches.
Astigmatism is a focussing error which causes asymmetric blur. An image will be more blurred in one direction than the other. It is usually caused by the shape of the front surface of the eye.
Presbyopia is a condition where the eye progresively has trouble focussing a a normal reading distance. It is not a disease, but a normal aging process affecting persons around 40-50 years of age. It is related to the loss of elasticity and flexibility of the crystalline lens inside the eye.
Glaucoma is a particularly dangerous eye disease that will cause blindness if left untreated. It is named the "silent thief" of sight because loss of vision occurs slowly, often without symptoms. It is caused by elevated pressure inside the eye resulting in the damage of the optic nerve fibres. Tests for glaucoma are simple and painless. The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age and tends to run in families. Everyone over the age of 40 should be treated regularly.
the clouding of the cystalling lens inside the eye is known as a cataract. Poor vision results because the cloudiness interferes with the light entering the eye. Catarcts are usually as a result of aging and long term exposure to UV. When vision is substantially reduced, surgery is recommended.
MACULAR DEGENERATION (MD)
This condition affects older people and can be seen in up to 30% of the population over 80 years. It results in the loss of central vision caused by the damage or breakdown of a very small part of the retina, known as the macula. Treatment is limited and is only effective when detected very early. Regular examinations are recommended for people over the age of 50 and those who have a family history of MD.
One in three people with diabetes could suffer some form of damage to their vision. It can cause the focussing abilty of the eyes to weaken or fluctuate from day to day and changes can occur at the back of the eye in the retina. Diabetes can affect the eyes in many ways especially if patients have poor diabetic control or have had the disease for some time. The incidence of glaucoma and cataracts increases in people who have diabetes. Yearly checkups are recommended for all diabetics and feedback is provided to your GP or nurse.