|BUTLER COUNTY ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND|
If you would like a brochure relating to a particular disease with more information, feel free to request a brochure. If you feel any of the symptoms listed for a particular disease sound familiar to you, please contact your physician or your eye doctor as this information is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any of the diseases listed.
Amblyopia is a condition of reduced or dimmed vision that occurs when the brain ignores one or both eyes. In normal vision, the images of both eyes blend into a single image in the brain. If a condition prevents both eyes from functioning together, the images from one eye will be ignored and the vision will not develop normally. When one or both eyes are being ignored by the brain, they will not develop ability to see clearly. Early detection and intervention are imperative, as amblyopia can only be treated if found in time. Good results can be expected if it is found by age three or four. Up to age six, there is still a chance of improved vision but after that good results are difficult to obtain. The usual treatment is to cover the good eye with an eye patch in order to make the brain use the weak eye. Some of the warning signs of this vision problem may include: shutting or closing one eye, rubbing eyes excessively, blinking more than usual, and frequent headaches. If you believe someone you know has this disease, please discuss it with your physician or local eye doctor.
Astigmatism is caused by an uneven cornea, and both close as well as far away objects look blurry. Since the cornea is uneven, light rays cannot focus on just one point on the retina and focus instead on two or more points causing a blurred image. You can be farsighted or nearsighted and have astigmatism also.
Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, the membrane covering the inside of the eyelid, and sometimes the white of the eye. You may notice a bump known as a cyst or stye on your eyelid, or maybe just swelling and redness. Your eye doctor can most often diagnose the problem by checking your eyelids, and may prescribe eyedrops or ointment to relieve your symptoms and may also suggest self-care you can do at home as keeping your eyelids clean is the only way to treat this problem.
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision, mostly related to aging and can occur in either or both eyes but cannot spread from one eye to another. Certain risk factors for cateracts include age, certain diseases / health problems (such as diabetes), personal behavioral choices (such as steriod, alcohol, or tobacco use), environment (prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light), eye injury (in some cases, and sometimes years later), and sometimes after eye surgery.
Conjunctivitus (also known as red eye or pink eye) is an inflammation of infection of the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the white of the eye and inside of the eye lid). When the membrane is irritated, it swells and the blood vessels dilate causing the eye to become red or blood-shot. It can be either chronic (can last for weeks or months) or acute (clears up within a short time, if treated). Chronic conjunctivitis is caused by allergies such as grass, pollen, mold, animals and some things can make it worse such as air pollution, smoke, fumes, chemicals, and contact lenses. Acute conjuncitivitis is most often an eye infection. It can be caused by viruses or bacteria so that unlike most problems of the eye, it can spread. You can spread it to both eyes and it is also contagious meaning that you can spread it to other people. To keep in from spreading; you should wash your hands often, not touch or rub your eyes, and don't share bedding or towels with other people. Talk to your physician or eye doctor if you are concerned you might have this disease as it is treatable.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the eye caused by diabetics and is a leading cause of blindness. It is caused when diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels inside the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It usually affects both eyes, and has four stages with each one meaning the eye damage is worse than in the stage prior. Anyone with diabetes is at risk including women who develop diabetes during pregnancy so every pregnant woman with diabetes should have a comprehensive dialated eye exam. Yearly eye exams are crucial in diagnosing this disease which can be treated unless you have macula edema, so talk to your eye care professional today if you have diabetes and have not had your eyes checked in the past twelve months.
Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the eye’s optic nerve and can lead to vision loss and/or blindness. Medications and sometimes surgery is needed to prevent worsening of this disease.
Farsightedness is also called hyperopia, and close objects look blurry but you may be able to see far away objects clearly. If you are severely farsighted, even far away objects will be blurry. Hyperopia is caused when the cornea and retina are too close together, making light rays from close objects focus behind the retina causing a blurred image.
Low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery; people find everyday taks difficult to do because of vision problems. Most people develop low vision problems because of eye diseases and health conditions and a few develop vision loss after eye injuries or from birth defects. Low vision is not necessarily a result of getting older, but your eye care professional can tell the difference between normal changes in the aging eye and those caused by eye diseases. If your eye care professional says nothing can be done to restore your vision, ask about vision rehabilitation services.
Macular degeneration is often caused by age, and is damage or breakdown of the tiny area in the center of the eye's retina called the macula which is responsible for straight-ahead (central) vision and allows you to see fine detail. Objects straight ahead of you will be blurry, which makes reading and close-up work nearly impossible especially if both eyes are affected. Regular eye exams are so important because macular degeneration can be detected early by an eye specialist and the risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age. Age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in American 60 years of age or older.
Nearsightedness is also called myopia, and distant objects look blurry but you can see close objects clearly. Myopia is caused when the cornea and retina are too far apart, making light rays from distant objects focus in front of the retina causing a blurred image.
Presbyopia is the loss of close-up focusing which makes it hard to do things that require you to see close up because they look blurry. Normally, the lens in the eye changes shape to focus light directly onto the retina (back of the eye) but with age, the lens hardens and cannot change shape as easliy. It is corrected by glasses or contact lenses.
Retinal tears are caused after retinal damage and is often noted when you see flashes of light or floaters. Your risk for this problem increases with age. Untreated retinal tears can lead to retinal tears and/or detachment. Call your physician or eye doctor if you have a head or eye injury for an evaluation as prompt treatment can help save your eyesight.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited eye diseases that affect the retina, specifically photoreceptor cells which capture and process light to see. Patients experience progressive vision loss as these cells degenerate and die.
Strabismus occurs when a child's eyes aren't straight, meaning they don't work together and can prevent normal vision from developing. If left untreated, can lead to amblyopia.
Stargardt disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration.
Glasses - glasses change the way light focuses on the inside of your eye. Glasses are worn on the face and are balanced on your nose and ears. They are fairly easy to get used to and take care of, but should be removed at night and cleaned as needed. An eye doctor can test your eyes to determine what type of lenses you need, and should do so at least once a year.
Contact Lenses - contact lenses work just like glasses, but they are worn on your eye. They can take more time to adjust to putting them in and taking them out without hurting your eye or damaging or losing a contact lens. Contacts require more care than glasses because most require removal at night prior to sleep, storage in a special case, cleaning with a solution, and removal of protein on a weekly basis. Also if you have allergies, you may have problems with the lenses or the solution you use to clean your lenses so ask your eye doctor. Contact lenses require additional testing of your eyes from your eye doctor beyond a typical eye examination.
Refractive Surgery - This surgery changes the shape of your eye and most often, a laser is used to reshape the cornea which reduces and sometimes even eliminates your need for glasses or contacts. Your eye doctor can talk to you about whether or not you are a candidate for eye surgery, as not everyone is.
A visual impairment is an eyesight problem that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Please feel free to contact us for brochures and additional information on various diseases of the eye, blindness, low vision, and vision problems. We will be glad to assist you.