Eye-sight problems


Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What are eye-sight problems?

“Eye-sight problems” is a collective term for a group of problems that impact the vision of an individual. They are common in but not restricted to elderly people. The patient may experience a range of problems starting from unclear vision to a complete loss of vision. Many of these problems can be fixed by lenses or optical surgeries. But many of the eye-sight problems which are not diagnosed or treated on time may aggravate and lead to permanent blindness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that around 36 million people all over the world are blind and 253 million have poor vision. The statistics of WHO have also shown that India has the highest blind population in the world. Eye-sight problems of any degree can lead to a loss of performance and productivity in school-going children and the working professionals.

This article will discuss the different types of eye-sight problems, alongside their causes, types and symptoms.

 

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration (MD) is the slow and painless breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is the central part of the retina and is predominantly made of cone cells which are the visual cells. Degeneration of the macula occurs due to loss of visual cells, cone cells, and rods cells, and thus, causes blurry vision or eventual blindness. In some rare cases, blindness can be abrupt. Since the macula degenerates with age, the disease is termed as Age-Related Macular Degeneration. If the disease is found to have a genetic linkage, it is known as Juvenile Macular Degeneration or Congenital Macular Degeneration. In the latter case, macular degeneration is an autosomal recessive eye disease.

What causes Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is precipitated by a number of catalyzing factors. These are listed below-

  • Age: The risk of being affected by AMD increases with age.
  • Smoking: Smokers have to endure severe vision loss when compared to non-smokers.
  • Heredity: People with close relatives affected by AMD are likely to develop AMD with age.
  • Sunlight: Laboratory studies show that exposure to sunlight can affect the retinas.
  • Diet: Obesity, intake of artificial fats and high cholesterol can increase the risk of being diagnosed with AMD.
  • Race: AMD is largely observed in whites but it can affect other races as well.
  • Drugs: Certain drugs namely, Aralen and phenothiazine can cause macular degeneration.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to be affected by AMD.

Other general factors include-

  • Inheritance of a faulty gene (usually dominant) from one parent
  • Inheritance of a defective gene (usually recessive) from both parents
  • Death of macular cells
  • Abnormal growth and rupture of blood vessels within the macula

What are the signs and symptoms?

The common symptoms of macular degeneration are as follows-

  • Partial or complete loss of central vision
  • Gradual loss of color vision
  • Photosensitivity (aversion to extremely bright light)
  • Loss of night vision
  • Difficulty reading the blackboard in school
  • Defective perception of straight lines as curved or bent
  • The appearance of dark spots in the central field of vision
  • Problems in distinguishing minute details
  • Difficulty performing tasks such as threading a needle, reading very small prints or reading street signs

What are the types of macular degeneration?

There are two main types-

  • Dry MD: This is caused by thinning of the RPE, Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells.
  • Wet MD: This is caused by thickening of the membrane underlying the retina which eventually breaks.

 

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a type of eye disease that occurs due to damage and death of the optic nerve. In the majority of the cases, glaucoma results from an abnormal elevation in the intraocular pressure. Faulty drainage within the eye chambers also contributes to glaucoma in many patients. Serious cases of glaucoma lead to vision disturbance and blindness.

Causes of glaucoma

  • Blockage of the drainage channels of the eye, which obstructs the drainage of the intraocular fluid
  • Increase in intraocular pressure due to build up of fluids inside the eye
  • Damage of the sensory optic nerve due to high pressure
  • Gradual hollowing of the optic disc that forces the sensitive optic nerve fibers into a curved shape

What are the types of glaucoma?

Two primary types of glaucoma have been identified so far. These are-

  • Open-angle glaucoma: It occurs due to progressive clogging of the drainage paths in the eye chamber, which leads to an increased intraocular pressure.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma: Here, the gap between the cornea and the iris is shortened, which causes an obstruction in fluid flow.

Warning signs

  • Partial or complete loss of peripheral vision
  • Loss of central vision (in the late stage)
  • The appearance of multicolored (typically rainbow colored) circles around bright lights
  • Pain in the head and eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness

 

Cataract

Cataract is defined as a type of vision impairment characterized by the unusual blurriness of the eye lens causing gradual opacity of lenses and loss of clear vision.

The general causes of cataracts 

  • Prolonged and unprotected exposure to Ultraviolet radiation
  • Trauma due to past incidents of eye-infection or eye injury
  • Certain drugs such as corticosteroids and diuretics
  • After-effects of previous diseases like diabetes, eczema (skin disorder), uveitis (eye inflammation), high blood pressure, glaucoma (disease of the eye)
  • Continuous exposure to toxic chemicals present in the environment
  • Addictive habits like smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged use of vitamin supplements (hypervitaminosis symptoms)
  • Diet rich in fat and deficient in anti-oxidant vitamins

What are the main signs and symptoms of cataracts?

The warning signs of cataracts are as follows-

  • Impaired vision accompanied by cloudiness or fogginess
  • A gradual opacity of the pupil causing loss of clear vision
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light (increased glare)
  • Short-sightedness (Myopia) characterized by difficulties in distance-vision
  • Double vision conditions where multiple images are perceived in one eye (diplopia)
  • Difficulty recognizing color (can lead to color-blindness)
  • Poor vision in bright sunlight
  • Poor night vision, occasionally leading to permanent night-blindness
  • Frequent change in prescriptions related to eye-glasses
  • Trouble performing mundane activities like reading, recognizing people or objects, driving, watching television and walking

What are the different types of cataracts?

According to morphology, cataracts are of three types-

  • Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts
  • Cortical cataracts
  • Posterior sub-capsular cataracts

According to etiology, cataracts are of four types-

  • Degenerative cataract
  • Congenital cataract
  • Traumatic cataract
  • Secondary cataracts

 

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a refractive error in which an even distribution of light does not occur over the retina. It arises due to the imperfect curvature of the cornea. The disease is often attributed to genetic factors. It is characterized by an extreme blurry vision.

Main types Astigmatism

Based on the axis of the principal meridian, Astigmatism is of two types-

Regular astigmatism: The principal meridians are perpendicular. It has three subtypes-

  • With-the-rule astigmatism
  • Against-the-rule astigmatism
  • Oblique astigmatism

Irregular astigmatism: Here the principal meridians are not perpendicular.Based on the focus of the principal meridian, three types are identified-

  • Simple astigmatism: It is of two types- simple hyperopic astigmatism and simple myopic astigmatism.
  • Compound astigmatism: It has two subtypes- hyperopic and myopic.
  • Mixed astigmatism: Here the focal lines are on both sides of the retina.

 

Myopia

Myopia is defined as the refractive error of the eye where a person can see the nearby objects but not the ones located at a distance. The causes of myopia are usually presented as hypotheses-

  • Near-work hypothesis: Myopia may develop due to overstraining the eyes in near works.
  • Visual stimuli hypothesis: This attributes Myopia to working in dimly lit environments for long hours on a regular basis.

What are the different types of Myopia?

Based on the etiology, Myopia is of the following types-

  • Axial Myopia: An increase in the axial length of the eye occurs in this case.
  • Refractive Myopia: It is associated with the refractive conditions of the eye. It is of two types- curvature myopia and index myopia.

 

Diagnosis, treatment, & treatment of eye-sight problems

The diagnostic tests for the age-related eye diseases are as follows-

  • Visual acuity test
  • Visual field test
  • Dilated eye exam
  • Tonometry
  • Pachymetry

The tests for the refractive eye diseases include-

  • Keratometer test
  • Retinoscopy
  • Distance chart
  • Phoropter

Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia can be rectified with the help of eyeglasses, contact lens or surgery. Underlying conditions such as diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), sarcoidosis (ocular sarcoidosis), sickle cell disease etc. should be taken care of.

Retinal diseases can be treated by treatment options such as lasers, cryopexy (freezing), shrinking of abnormal blood vessels, injecting medicines into the eye, retinal implants etc. Strabismus and nystagmus can be treated by vision therapy which helps to make the eyes stronger. Based on the condition, surgery might also be considered as a treatment option.

Dry eyes can be treated by using artificial tears, placing computer screens below eye level (so that the eye is not open wide), taking breaks during work, blinking the eyes more often, preventing blowing air directly into the eye and other such measures. Cataracts that affect vision are usually treated by means of a surgery.

Prevention of eye problems is mainly by protecting it from external irritants such as harmful UV radiations, hot and dry air, allergens, chemicals, insects, dust etc. A diet rich in vitamin A is advised to maintain the health of the eye. Regular eye checkups can also help in diagnosing the condition (if any) at an early stage and prevention of its progression.

 

Facts

  • According to the latest assessment done by the World Health Organization in the year 2010, cataract contributes to 51% of the world blindness, which comes to around 20 million people.
  • As per the information furnished by the World Health Organization (W.H.O), astigmatism is one of the major causes of childhood blindness.

Facts

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has a blindness prevalence of around 8.7% making it the 3rd most common global cause of visual impairment.
  • Vitamin A supplements can decrease the rate of child mortality by around 34% in regions having vitamin A deficiency as a public health issue. The cost of one dose of vitamin A is only 5 US cents.

Facts

  • It is estimated that severe refractive errors have led to blindness in around 5 million individuals.
  • The prevalence of blindness in children across the world is estimated to be around 1.4 million.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Take a balanced diet rich in vitamin A, C, and E. A diet with lots of fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, apricots, berries, papaya, mangoes, citrus fruits, flaxseeds etc.
  • Get your eyesight checked regularly by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
  • Reduce the strain on your eyes by measures such as using audiobooks, smart watches (talking watches), and books with a large print or by using bright lights in the house.
  • Position your computer screen below eye level. This will prevent dryness in the eyes as the extent of opening the eye reduces in this case.
Don'ts
  • Overuse your eyes. Activities such as working on computers, watching television, reading etc. should be avoided for a prolonged period without any breaks.
  • Expose your eyes to the harsh sun rays. Protect them by wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Excessive exposure might damage the retina causing macular degeneration cataract.
  • Indulge in smoking. Smoking can worsen eye symptoms.

 

 

 

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Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
smelling-salts-benefits
The actual science behind smelling salts and how it helps in injury recovery Most smelling salts are a mixture of ammonium carbonate and some perfumes which are sniffed by an individual…
Isagenix diet weight loss
How are BMI and BMR different and what do these numbers mean? BMI and BMR are two important metrics that provide a clear picture of your body's metabolism and also…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Gatorade: Top things you need to know about this staple energy drink Gatorade is a popular (in fact the most popular) energy drink worldwide. But this power-packed drinks comes with…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Tight phimosis ring
Phimosis Read to know everything about phimosis, types, symptoms, treatment, risks and prognosis for patients with this condition.
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
Valerian Root: The best way to achieve tranquil sleep every night Valerian root is probably one of the oldest and safest way to cure your insomnia. Find out how…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
glutamine workout
Glutamine: Why is this the right choice for muscle-gain supplement? Glutamine can help you gain muscles and build higher immunity. Read more to find out how you can…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Sciatica pain relief: Get rid of the pain with these easy daily tips Researchers have claimed that not only heat but icing the area too helps relieve sciatica pain. Find out…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
asab antisperm antibody test
Antisperm Antibody Test The ASAB or anti-sperm antibody test is a blood/semen test that analyzes the level of sperm-killing antibody protein…
AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liver
Hepatitis Profile A hepatitis profile or a hepatitis panel is a blood test that checks for markers of hepatitis infection…