Perfect vision is a gift available to some, but unattainable to most without vision correction. Few people can see perfectly, and most people experience at least one vision condition at some point in their lives. Some vision conditions are natural, even unavoidable, while others can be easily corrected through a comprehensive eye exam followed by the correct prescription for glasses or contact lenses or, in more serious cases, through eye surgery. Some people, however, will experience more serious eye conditions that have greater potential for affecting their quality of life. Therefore, having your yearly check up at your local optometrist is the best way to maintain your eye health and ensure optimal vision.
PRESCRIPTION VISION CONDITIONS
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is where a person has difficulty seeing distant objects as clearly as near objects. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is where a person has difficulty seeing near objects as clearly as distant objects. Astigmatism affects the way the eye processes light and results in varying degrees of blurred vision. All three of these conditions are caused by the lens of the eye not properly focusing light onto the retina (the back of the eye). Myopia falls short, hyperopia overshoots, and astigmatism fails to come to a single focus on the retina. Hyperopia affects about 1 in 4 people, while myopia is even more common, affecting 4 in 10. Combinations of myopia and astigmatism or hyperopia and astigmatism are also quite common. These conditions are easily corrected through the use of corrective glasses or contact lenses.
Another form of farsightedness often develops in adults as the lenses of the eyes age. This normal change in the eye’s focusing ability is called presbyopia. Beginning in the early to mid-forties, the lens in the eye becomes more rigid and most adults may start to experience problems with their ability to clearly see objects up-close. Presbyopia is also easily rectified with the use of prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses.
BEYOND PRESCRIPTION VISION CONDITIONS
Some conditions require eye care beyond what basic prescription can provide. Amblyopia, also called ‘lazy eye’, is when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favouring the other eye. Strabismus, more commonly known as cross-eyed or wall-eyed, is a vision condition in which a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions. As a result, each eye can simultaneously look in different directions, sending two different images to the brain.
Photophobia or ‘light sensitivity’ is a condition in which bright lights hurt a person’s eyes to the extent they get headaches and eyestrain, while nyctalopia, or ‘night blindness’, is when a person experiences poor vision at night or in dimly lit environments. Light sensitivity and night blindness are usually an expression of an underlying condition such as inflammation of the eyes or an undiagnosed treatable condition such as myopia.
Lastly, colour deficiency, or ‘colour blindness’, is a condition where a person is unable to identify a certain colour or has trouble distinguishing between shades of red, yellow, and green. The cause of colour blindness is an inherited genetic disorder. There is no treatment or cure, but people are often taught to recognise colours in other ways to minimize the impact of the condition on their lives.
Eye exams are a lot more than just writing a prescription for eyewear and contact lenses; they are a vital part of maintaining eye health and vision capabilities. Never forego an eye exam. Needing visual aids may be nothing more than the effects of your eyes’ natural aging process, but early detection of other more serious vision conditions can protect your eye health from further deterioration. If an optometrist or ophthalmologist deems you suitable and your vision condition severe enough, then a form of refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK) is performed to correct the eye’s refractive error and render visual aids unnecessary.
If you are experiencing any vision difficulties, book an appointment to see your local eye-care expert today. Treatable vision impairment can be easily and speedily corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. For more serious eye conditions, however, early detection and treatment is essential to prevent further deterioration and to keep you seeing, and feeling, well. At iSight Optometry we are dedicated to maintaining the optimal health and vision of your eyes, and offer an exciting array of glasses and contact lenses to suit every budget and style.