Common Eye Diseases & Conditions
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is a common eye condition that can occur for a variety of reasons. Common symptoms include redness, irritation, wateriness, and discharge.
Depending on the cause of your conjunctivitis, your optometrist can recommend different treatment plans. The 3 most common types of conjunctivitis:
- Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when you are exposed to something to which you are allergic, such as pollen or pet dander. You can manage these symptoms by using allergy medications or eye drops.
- Viral conjunctivitis is a very contagious form of the condition. Like any other viruses, there is no treatment, you simply have to let it run its course. Viral conjunctivitis generally only lasts for a couple of days, but if your symptoms persist, please contact your optometrist.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious and requires antibiotics to treat it effectively.
Cataracts are a common eye condition that occurs when your clear crystalline lens becomes more dense and opaque over time, leading to cloudy, dull, and/or blurry vision.
Your optometrist may be able to help you achieve better vision with a change in glasses or contact lenses, but the only way to effectively treat cataracts is with cataract surgery.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that often develops in adults over the age of 55. There are two different types of AMD, both of which damage your macula and cause a loss of central vision.
The 2 types of AMD are:
- Dry AMD — This occurs when small deposits, called drusen, begin to form underneath your macula. The drusen deteriorate your macula, leading to vision loss.
- Wet AMD — This occurs when delicate blood vessels form underneath your macula. Because these vessels are so fragile, they can easily break and leak fluids into your macula and damage it, leading to rapid vision loss. Wet AMD is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
Glaucoma is a common eye disease that occurs when your eye is either producing too much intraocular fluid or is not draining the fluid fast enough. This leads to raised intraocular pressure (IOP). This pressure can then damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.
However, there is a form of glaucoma that can occur without raised IOP levels.
The 3 most common forms of glaucoma are:
- Open-angle glaucoma — This occurs when the drainage angle between your iris and cornea remains open, but your IOP levels still rise due to excess intraocular fluid.
- Angle-closure glaucoma — This occurs when the drainage angle between your iris and cornea closes, leading to a rapid rise in your IOP. Angle-closure glaucoma can cause sudden vision loss and eye pain, making it a medical emergency.
- Normal-tension glaucoma — This occurs when your optic nerve is damaged even though your IOP levels are stable.
Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that can occur alongside diabetes.
Higher blood sugar can damage the blood vessels located inside your retina. When this happens, your retina will attempt to compensate by creating new, but delicate, blood vessels. Unfortunately, these new vessels can break easily and leak fluids into your retina, causing vision loss.