Common Eye Disorders: Types, Preventive Measures, & Management

icon-blog By -Dr. Kanika Sharma
icon-blog By -January 5, 2024
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Know Common Eye Disorders: Types, Preventive Measures, & Management

Eyes are not mere organs, these are sacred lenses that God has given us to see his extraordinary artistry in the universe. Globally, around 2 billion people have vision impairment. The two most common root causes of impaired vision are age-related eye disorders and refractive errors. According to projections from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma will increase by 1.3 times between 2020 and 2030, from 76 million to 95.4 million. Moreover, the number of individuals who suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) will rise by 1.2 times (from 195.6 million to 243.3 million). The number of individuals with cataracts has been predicted to increase due to an aging population, particularly in those who are over the age of 70. Furthermore, an upsurge in the number of people experiencing symptoms of dry eyes or eye irritation may also result from lifestyle deterioration and exposure to certain environmental factors such as pollutants in the air, dry conditions, and winds.

Reducing the worldwide burden of eye diseases requires a high level of public awareness of common eye diseases. Numerous eye conditions, like glaucoma, can have minimal or no symptoms for an extended period of time. The loss of vision may be misinterpreted by elderly individuals as a symptom of an eye disease rather than as a normal aspect of aging. Lack of knowledge about eye conditions can cause delays in seeking medical attention and increase the amount of time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis. Education about common eye diseases has the potential to improve public awareness of these conditions and alter personal habits, which could lead to an increase in early diagnosis and treatment of these conditions as well as a motivation for those who are at risk to get regular eye care.

The primary risk factor for many eye disorders in humans is age. Another well-established risk factor for age-related eye diseases is a family history. But there are also risk factors associated with poor lifestyle choices. Diet, occupation, and tobacco use are common lifestyle factors linked to eye disorders. Smokers have a greater chance of developing optic neuropathies, AMD, cataracts, and uveitis (an eye inflammatory disease). Additionally, smoking during pregnancy raises the risk of disorders related to optic nerve damage. 

Obesity also raises the risk of diabetic retinopathy, AMD, and cataracts. Macular degeneration and corneal opacity may occur from a vitamin A (beta-carotene) deficiency. Three well-known risk factors for cataracts are diabetes, steroids use, and excessive sun exposure. Based on scientific evidence, a diet high in cholesterol and elevated arterial pressure may raise the risk of AMD. A major consequence of diabetes that can be avoided or postponed with lifestyle modifications and appropriate blood glucose management is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is one of the risk factors for glaucoma. To prevent eye disorders, it is imperative to be aware of the risk factors associated with these conditions. The following information will help you to know more about common eye disorders and ways to prevent them.

List of Common Eye Disorders

1. Refractive errors

Various refractive errors that affect people include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision at all distances), and presbyopia. These disorders generally develop between the ages of 40 to 50. Refractive errors generally result in loss of close focus, difficulty reading phone book letters, and the need to hold newspapers farther away in order to see clearly. These refractive errors can be corrected by using glasses, contact lenses, or occasionally surgery at the right time. According to the National Eye Institute, 150 million Americans may have better vision with appropriate refractive correction.

2. Cataract

The disorder that causes clouding of the eye's lens, which is typically transparent, is called cataract. It can manifest in one or both eyes. It is more prevalent in older individuals. Although it can also affect younger people also and, in rare instances, babies born with congenital cataracts.
Early detection of cataracts can occur during an eye examination conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Adjusting the existing distance glasses may restore clear vision during the early stages. It is among common eye disorders in elderly. For some individuals aged 60 and above, early cataracts may coincide with the initial need for distance glasses. In such cases, cataract surgery may not be immediately necessary, as satisfactory visual acuity can be achieved with new glasses. Cataract surgery becomes essential only when, despite wearing appropriate glasses, the cataracts impede everyday visual activities such as reading, driving, engaging in hobbies, and ensuring safe mobility.

3. Diabetic eye disease

Diabetes may affect your eyes in a number of ways. Because of this, it's critical to have a thorough eye exam as soon as you receive a diabetes diagnosis and to keep getting checked out on a regular basis. Even in the event that you experience no symptoms, you should still attend these routine visits. Detecting and treating vision loss early on is the most effective approach.
On the inside back of the eye is a layer of tissue called the retina that is sensitive to light. Diabetes patients may experience gradual retinal damage that impairs vision. Without prompt detection and treatment, diabetic retinopathy may result in permanent vision loss. Additionally, poorly managed diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol all raise your risk.

4. Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a persistent, asymptomatic macular disease. The macula is a region in the back of your eye that is located in the exact center of the retina. AMD leads to a gradual loss of central vision. The peripheral vision is unaffected, though. Reading, watching TV, and recognising faces are all impacted by this loss of central vision. However, AMD generally doesn’t cause total vision loss (black blindness) solely. 
AMD may not affect vision in some individuals and progresses very slowly in others. For others, AMD might advance more quickly and result in blindness in one or both eyes. If you have AMD, you should consider any abrupt changes in your vision to be an urgent medical issue. Consult an eye doctor or optometrist right away.

5. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye disorders where loss of vision occurs due to damage to the optic nerve. There occurs an irreversible loss of vision due to damage to the optic nerve. The loss of sight is generally is slow process. There is loss of considerable amount of side vision before one becomes aware of any eye problem.
Unfortunately, glaucoma cannot be cured, and once it occurs, vision loss cannot be reversed. Glaucoma gradually results in blindness and irreversible vision loss if treatment is not received timely. Glaucoma can only be managed by continuing the course of therapy that has been recommended by an eye care specialist. Treatments can stop more vision loss from occurring. The only recognised treatment for glaucoma at the moment is bringing your eye pressure down to a manageable level.

6. Retinal detachment

When the retina, a layer of tissue inside the back of the eye, separates from the eyeball, it is known as retinal detachment. This requires emergency treatment. It is more prevalent in those with low vision. Your retina regulates your vision. Vision loss may occur if it is damaged. Retinal detachment symptoms include:

  • Flashes of light and/or floaters (moving dots or cobwebs) in one eye
  • Unexpected loss of vision or alteration in vision, such as having a curtain drawn over one eye, seeing a blurry shadow, or seeing an empty circle in front of you
  • Altered peripheral vision
  • Seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if you suspect retinal detachment

7. Corneal Ulcer

An open sore on the cornea is called corneal ulcer. Cornea is the transparent dome covering the coloured iris in the eye. Infection is a common cause of corneal ulcers, especially when the cornea is injured physically.
Blurred vision, discharge, foreign body sensation, and red, inflamed eyes are among the symptoms. Seeking prompt medical attention for a corneal ulcer reduces the likelihood of long-term visual impairment.

8. Blepharitis

Inflammation of the eyelid margins is known as blepharitis. Usually, it affects both eyes. The two forms of the condition are anterior (also known as front) and posterior (also known as back) of the eyelid margins. Bacterial infections in the glands of the eyelids and lash follicles are the most frequent cause. Both adults and children of any age can develop blepharitis. Among the symptoms and indicators are:

  • Sensation of "Something in the eye" 
  • Weeping excessively 
  • Frothily itching 
  • Blinking too much
  • Photophobia, or light sensitivity
  • Sticky/crusty eyelashes, especially in the morning

9. Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

The condition known as "pink eye," or conjunctivitis, causes the white portion of the eye to turn pink or red. The conjunctiva, the transparent outer layer of the eye, and the inside of the eyelid are inflamed, which is the cause of this. Since conjunctivitis can spread quickly, it's critical that you identify the precise cause in order to prescribe the appropriate course of care.
There is an often discharge of yellow or green color if the condition is bacterial conjunctivitis, which can cause the eyelids to stick together. There could be damage to one or both eyes. The discharge will probably be clear if the conjunctivitis is viral or allergic in nature. Additionally, you may be experiencing sneezing and an itchy nose due to hay fever.

10. Stye

A small, painful cyst on your eyelid is called a stye. Usually, an infection at the base of an eyelash follicle is the cause. Your vision may be partially obscured until the soreness goes away, and it may feel sensitive and painful. Without medical intervention, styles typically go away on their own in one to three weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the five most common vision related problems?

Refractive errors, cataract, diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma  are the five most common vision related problems.

What is retinal disorder?

Any damage to the retina or any disease affecting the retinal tissue is called retinal disorder. Retina is a tissue that is responsible for vision development. It is present in the central back region of the eye.

How can I solve my eye problems?

By visiting your optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly can help you prevent most eye disorders. Moreover, visiting your doctor if you notice any symptoms right away can help you deal with the situation better.

How common are retina problems?

Diabetic eye disease, macular degeneration, and retinal detachment are the common are retinal problems. 

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