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Other Eye Conditions

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is likely one of the most misunderstood eye conditions. To put it simply; astigmatism is when one or both of the two round surfaces of the eye that are responsible for focusing light (the cornea or clear outer window of the eye and the lens which sits just behind the colored part of the eye) are not perfectly spherical or round. The usual site of irregularity in the eye is the cornea.

It is normal and, if present, may be considered one of nature’s imperfections. Astigmatism may cause blurred vision, eyestrain, or even headaches.

Small amounts may be ignored but if any symptoms are present, astigmatism can be corrected by glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.

Stye

Styes are commonly caused by a bacterial infection, or by the blocking of an oil gland at the base of the eyelash. Although they are particularly common in infants, styes are experienced by people of all ages.

Styes can be triggered by stress, poor nutrition or sleep deprivation. They tend to be painful, especially in the early stages when swelling and redness are prominent.

Styes are contagious, and proper hygiene should be observed. Do not share washcloths or face towels. Treatment consists of warm compresses, antibiotic drops, oral antibiotics, and more rarely surgical drainage.

Amblyopia

Amblyopia is when one or both eyes have a reduction of best corrected vision which is NOT related to any disease in the eye. Common causes include strabismus (when the eyes are not straight) and refractive errors (high prescription errors and/or differences between the two eyes.)

The vision decrease develops in the first decade of life and doesn’t worsen thereafter.

Treatments include proper spectacle correction, patching therapy (when one eye is weak), muscle surgery in some strabismus cases, and follow-up care. Early treatment, ideally before age eight years old, is essential to improving vision.

Floaters

The vitreous is the jelly-like material that fills the large central cavity of the eye. It is 98% water and 2% proteins. The vitreous has normal connections to the retina, the light sensitive layer in the back of the eye, called fibrous elements.

As we age the water elements separate from the fibrous elements. With this comes the onset of floaters which can appear like gray or black spots/webs/strands in your vision.

Some patients will see flashes if the fibrous elements tug on the retina. Besides age, injuries and nearsightedness are contributing factors.

All floaters should be checked to rule out a retina problem like a retinal hole, tear, or detachment.