Most cataracts are the result of aging and long term exposure to ultraviolet light. Certain diseases can cause cataracts, eye injuries, exposure to toxic materials and radiation and occasionally they are present at birth.

The lens inside the eye functions similar to camera lens, focusing light onto the retina and adjusting the eye's focus allowing us to see things clearly. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The arrangement of the protein in the eyes keeps the lens clear permitting light to pass through it.

But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens forming a cataract. In the beginning a cataract is quite small having a minimal effect on your vision. You may notice that your vision is slightly blurred as if you were looking through a cloudy piece of glass. Cataracts gradual worsen over time with the cloudiness becoming larger and denser making it more difficult to see clearly.

If left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness. According to the Prevent Blindness America cataracts are the principle cause of blindness throughout the world.

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva (transparent membrane), the thin, transparent layer that lines the surface of the inner eyelid and covers a portion of the white front part of the eye. When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva became inflamed, they become more prominent causing the whites of your eye to appear reddish or pink. Other common symptoms include watery eyes, blurred vision and a scratchy sensation of the eye. There are several causes of conjunctivitis bacterial or viral infection, an allergic or chemical reaction or in a baby an incompletely open tear duct. Because infectious conjunctivitis can be contagious early diagnosis and treatment can help limit its spread.

Diabetes can damage the blood vessels by allowing excessive amounts of glucose to remain in the bloodstream. Properly managing your diabetes can help to minimize damage to your eyes. Therefore, it is essential not to ignore the treatment of your diabetes so you can maintain healthy eyes.People with diabetes are more at risk for cataracts and glaucoma, but the possible effects it has on the retina is even more of a danger to your vision. Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels on the back of the retina become ballooned and damaged. The larger amount of blood that is allowed to seep into the eye, the greater impact it will have on affecting your vision. This hemorrhaging of the blood vessels can cause swelling and edema to develop in the eye perhaps affecting your ability to see. The small, damaged blood vessels can also form scar tissue contributing to the development of glaucoma. The American Diabetes Association reports that those with diabetes are sixty percent more prone to develop cataracts and forty percent more likely to have problems with glaucoma..

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. The tears your eyes normally produce are necessary for overall eye health and clear vision. Dry eye occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears or produce tears which do not have the proper chemical composition.

Common symptoms of dry are persistent dryness, scratchiness, eye redness, a burning sensation in your eyes or a foreign body sensation as if something is in your eye. Dry eyes can become red and irritated causing inflammation on the front tissue of the eye. Believe it or not, but dry eye can also cause watery eyes because it will overstimulate production of the watery component of your tears as a protective mechanism.

Dry eye syndrome has many causes. It occurs as a part of the natural aging process, a side effect of many medications, other systemic diseases that you may have, long term contact lens wear or because of the dryness, dust or windy conditions found in the environment in which you live. Air conditioning or a dry heating system can also impact the dryness of your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eye cannot be cured, but the sensitivity of your eyes can be reduced so your eyes remain healthy. The most frequent treatment is the use of artificial tears. When your dry eye is more severe, ointment can prescribed. In some cases, small plugs may be inserted in the corner of the eyelids to slow drainage and loss of tears.

Spots (often called floaters) are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks or particles within the eye. They become noticeable when they fall within the line of sight. These spots and floaters are particularly pronounced when you stare at a bright, clear sky or a white computer screen. These floaters are cast on the retina as light passes through the eye, and those shadows are what you are actually seeing. Most eye floaters and spots are harmless and merely annoying. Many will fade over time and become less bothersome. The most common cause of floaters is due to age related eye changes. Other causes may include inflammation in the back of the eye, hemorrhaging in the eye and or a retinal detachment.

Remember that the sudden appearance of a significant number of floaters, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light or other vision disturbances, could be an indication of a more serious eye problem. You should notify your eye doctor immediately.

Glaucoma is an eye disease where the nerve cells which transmit information from the eye to the brain become damaged. This in turn prevents the retina from allowing information to process to the brain. In most instances, a high pressure inside of the eye leads to a gradual loss of nerve fibers contained within the optic nerve then blind spots will occur usually affecting the peripheral vision.

Keratoconus (literally, conical cornea) is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea, the front clear window of the eye. As the cornea thins, the normal pressure within the eye makes the thinner area of the cornea bulge forward slightly. Keratoconus (literally, conical cornea) is a degenerative disorder of the eye with structural changes within the central zone of the cornea, the front clear window of the eye. It causes the cornea to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. The cornea appears to be bulging forward slightly. Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light all often reported by the patient.

Keratoconus is an inherited disorder. It is a recessive condition, requiring genetic factors to be inherited from both parents. Keratoconus usually becomes apparent in the adolescent years. Sometimes it is associated with other conditions such as allergies, infantile eczema, asthma, reduced night vision, double jointedness, and in rare instances, with occasional short bouts of chest pain. Because keratoconus is a genetic condition it cannot be treated with drugs. Initially glasses are used to correct the problem. Although as keratoconus progresses, the shape of the cornea becomes irregular and rigid contacts are the preferred choice to provide improved vision. The contact lenses essentially provides a new, regular front surface for the eye, eliminating the distortions that is caused by keratoconus. Further progression of the disease may require surgery. Keratoconus does not cause blindness.

Because the cornea continues to change shape, it is important that people with keratoconus have regular examinations to ensure that their contact lenses fit properly. An inproper fitted contact lens can cause abrasions and scarring.

Distortion of vision refers to straight lines not appearing straight, but instead bent, crooked, or wavy. Usually this is caused by damage or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small, but very important part of the retina representing the central part of your vision where our reading vision and our color vision are received.

Pterygium (Surfer's Eye) most often refers to a benign growth of the conjunctiva (the thin membrane which covers the white portion of the eye) on the cornea. It is a triangular shaped lump of tissue. A pterygium commonly grows from the side of the eye closer to the nose. It is thought to be caused by ultraviolet radiation in hot dry climates with low humidity and dust. Pterygia are not dangerous, although they appear ugly and cause some discomfort. The main problem with Pterygia is that as they grow on the cornea causing images to become distorted thus interfering with vision. If the Pterygium grows on to the central part of the cornea, it causes the blockage of light from entering the eye. The problem may occur on one or both eyes.

The vitreous is a gel-like fluid which fills most of the eye. As people age, this vitreous becomes more and more liquefied. This is a common degenerative change. At some point in a person's life, the vitreous liquefies enough to shift its position in the eye. When this occurs, the back edge of the vitreous jelly pulls forward away from the retina. This is referred to as a "vitreous detachment". As the vitreous detaches, it tugs on the retina and flashes of light is perceived to appear in the corner of the eye. Debris pulled from the optic nerve and retina are then seen as floaters. This can be described as a cobweb, a net, a string, or a fly over the vision.

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