Updated on 

March 21, 2022

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Eye Care & Health

Common Eye Diseases & Conditions

Refractive errors are the most common type of eye condition. Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK eye surgery can correct them.

Refractive errors occur when your eye's shape doesn't bend light correctly. This keeps the light from focusing on your retina properly. The result is blurred vision.

Refractive errors include:

Many eye conditions can cause low vision, blindness, eye discomfort, and other life-altering conditions. Other conditions may not cause vision loss but result in vision and eye irregularities.

Common eye diseases include:

Common Eye Conditions

Some common eye problems include:

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage your optic nerve. These conditions are usually caused by abnormally high pressure in your eye. They are the leading cause of blindness in older people.

Treatment options include lowering eye pressure, eye drops, medications, surgery, and laser treatment.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens of a person’s eye becomes cloudy, rather than clear. Most types of cataracts form slowly over many years.

The primary symptom of this condition is blurry vision, like looking out of a cloudy window. Treatment includes cataract surgery, which replaces the lens with an artificial, clear lens. 

Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetes is a group of diseases that result in high blood sugar. Over time, diabetes can damage your eyes and cause vision problems, even blindness.

Common diabetes-related eye diseases include cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and diabetic macular edema. 

Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is an age-related eye condition. It results in loss of the central vision of your eye (macula).

It causes blurred vision or vision loss. It can be treated with minerals and vitamins or surgery.

Keratoconus (Bulging Cornea)

Keratoconus is a continually developing eye disease that leads to a bulging cornea. Over time, the cornea starts to form into a cone shape. This diverts the light entering your eye and results in distorted vision.

Surgery is necessary to cure this condition.

Retinitis

Retinitis is inflammation of the retina, a thin layer of tissue lining the back of the eye. This condition can permanently damage the retina and cause blindness.

An ophthalmologist can help diagnose retinitis during an eye exam.

Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment results in peripheral vision loss over time. It can be caused by injuries, retinal inflammation, posterior vitreous detachment, tumors, and eye surgeries.

Eye Styes

Eye styes are painful, red bumps that appear on the edge of your eyelid. They look similar to a pimple or boil and are usually filled with pus. In some cases, a stye can form on your inner eyelid.

Styes are relatively harmless and disappear on their own within a few days to a week. Treatment includes applying a warm washcloth to the stye to relieve any discomfort or pain. 

Chalazion

Unlike a stye, a chalazion is a painless bump that develops in the oil gland of your eyelid. It typically forms if this gland gets clogged.

If a chalazion is large, you may need to get it removed by a doctor or apply hot compresses to it. However, most minor cases resolve on their own within a few days. 

Uveitis

Uveitis is a form of eye inflammation that affects the middle layer of tissue in your uvea (eyewall). 

The symptoms of this condition often come on suddenly and get worse quickly. Indicators of uveitis include eye pain, blurred vision, and eye redness.

Contrast Sensitivity

Visual contrast sensitivity is the ability to differentiate between an object and background.

Contrast sensitivity is not the same as visual acuity. Visual acuity measures how clear your vision is at a certain distance. 

People with poor contrast sensitivity have difficulty:

  • Driving at night
  • Driving in fog, rain, or snow
  • Locating objects with a similar color background
  • Reading newspapers
  • Stepping off curbs
  • Distinguishing facial features on people

Color Blindness

Someone who is color blind has trouble seeing the difference between a green object and a red object. They also have difficulty seeing yellows or blues in some cases.

Currently, there is no cure for color blindness. But fortunately, there are special lenses that can improve color vision and reduce any deficiencies.

Corneal Ectasia

The cornea is a transparent tissue that covers the front of your eye. It helps focus the light entering your eye.

Corneal ectasia is a rare, sight-threatening condition that can cause permanent damage to the cornea.

Keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, keratoglobus, and laser eye surgery can all cause this condition. 

Strabismus

Strabismus is when one eye is misaligned, so both eyes cannot focus in the same direction. To avoid double vision, your brain tries to tune out what the misaligned eye is seeing.

Some children have intermittent strabismus, which means the eye turn is not present all the time.

Dry Eye Syndrome

You can develop dry eyes when your eyes are not making enough tears or if your tears are of poor quality.

A healthy tear film is essential for eye health because your tears:

  • Flush out irritants
  • Protect against eye infections
  • Help you see clearly
  • Lubricate your eyes 

You can treat dry eye with lubricating drops, supplements, and heat compresses.

Droopy Eyelids (Ptosis)

The main symptom of ptosis is a droopy upper eyelid.

There are many potential causes of ptosis. The underlying cause is usually a defect in the muscles that control eyelid movements.

Some people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons or vision problems due to a droopy eyelid. If the condition is mild and there is no correlated disease, you may not need treatment.

Digital Eye Strain 

Digital eye strain is caused by extended sessions staring at a phone, tablet, or computer.

This is a common condition that can cause:

  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty refocusing between near and far distances
  • Tired eyes
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches 

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent digital eye strain. You can improve your posture, add anti-glare protection, and or try eye lubrication.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a condition that causes your eyelids to become inflamed. It often leads to dandruff-like scales and debris at the base of the eyelashes.

Blepharitis is very common in people who have rosacea. 

Corneal Ulcers

A corneal ulcer is an open wound that forms on your cornea. Most corneal ulcers are painful because the cornea has more nerve fibers than any other part of your body.

Treatment for this condition focuses on treating the underlying cause of the ulcer, rather than the ulcer itself. 

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters are harmless, common spots you see in your field of vision.

Floaters are a normal part of aging, but younger people can experience them as well. If your eye floaters are bothering you, there are treatment options available. In most cases, optometrists recommend not treating floaters unless they interfere with your vision significantly.

Pterygium (Surfer's Eye)

A pterygium is a benign (non-cancerous) fleshy growth that forms on the front of your eye.

The cause of surfer’s eye is unknown. Most research points to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun as the main factor. Especially if you are around water often.

Most pterygia do not require treatment. Instead, your eye doctor may recommend tracking the growth of the condition yearly. 

Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be caused by a viral infection, bacterial infection, or allergies.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause, but the condition generally resolves on its own without treatment. 

Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

Amblyopia (lazy eye) causes reduced vision due to irregular visual development. A lazy eye typically develops in just one eye but can develop in both.

Amblyopia often starts between birth and early childhood, which is a crucial time for proper vision development.

Children who get amblyopia treatment at a young age have a better visual outcome. The condition can also be treated later in life. 

4 Tips to Take Care of Your Eyes

There are several important steps you can take to protect your eye health:

1. Schedule regular eye exams

Ask your eye doctor how often you should have an eye exam. Anyone at risk for eye disease and older people should get eye exams more frequently.

2. Follow instructions if you wear contacts

If you wear contact lenses, be sure to follow instructions regarding cleanliness and storage. Wash your hands thoroughly before you take them out or put them in.

3. Always wear sunglasses

Even cloudy days transmit UVA and UVB light. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from their damaging effects.

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Keeping your body healthy overall can help lower your risk for eye diseases. Maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and avoid smoking.

5. Protect your eyes

If you play sports, do industrial work, or have home projects, use protective eyewear.

6. Rest your eyes

Follow the 20/20/20 rule when working on your computer or reading.

Every 20 minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps rest and reset your eyes and can prevent digital eye strain.

2 Cited Research Articles
  1. “Common Eye Disorders.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Sept. 2015, www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html.
  2. “Glossary of Common Eye & Vision Conditions.” Glossary of Eye and Vision Conditions, www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions.
Alyssa is a content contributor and lead editor for Vision Center. She has a Master's degree in Journalism and over 6 years of professional experience writing expert-backed content in the health/medical space, including eye care and vision health. Her goal is to provide up-to-date information that is easy to understand, medically accurate, and engaging.
https://www.visioncenter.org/author/alyssa/
Author: Alyssa Hill  | UPDATED March 21, 2022
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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

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