It is rare for anyone to go through their entire life and never suffer from an eye disease or disorder. The chances of having one, or more, increases with age. However, even the very young and otherwise healthy are subject to facing potentially vision damaging issues. Some of these are quite uncommon, but there are at least 10 that everyone has a pretty good chance of facing. Knowing what they are and understanding the early warning signs can help to keep them from becoming serious and having a large impact on your life.
The uvea is the pigmented middle layer of the eye. It includes the iris (the thin circle that surrounds the pupil) whose pigment determines the eye’s color, the ciliary body and the choroid. Uveitis is, simply put, the inflammation of the uvea that impacts almost 300,000 people each year. Typically, those that suffer this disease are between 20 and 50 years old. There are four types of uveitis, which are based on the location of the inflammation:
- Anterior uveitis is inflammation of the iris and/or the ciliary body.
- Intermediate uveitis is inflammation localized to the vitreous and peripheral retina.
- Posterior uveitis is inflammation of the choroid.
- Diffuse uveitis (panuveitis) is inflammation of the entire uvea.
Dry Eye Disease
This chronic condition occurs when your eyes do not produce enough tears, or appropriate quality of tears to keep the eye lubricated or nourished. Tears are made up of three layers: a water layer, an oil layer, and a mucus layer. Together they work to make the eyeball and inside of the eyelid stay wet and functional. Without adequate quality of tears, the eyes feel gritty and scratchy, or have a burning sensation. Dry eye is increasingly common with age and occurs more in women. Dry environments and irritants can contribute to it. Artificial tears and soothing cleansers like Cliradex can help the symptoms, but in some cases medical intervention will include surgery.
More commonly known as ‘pink eye,’ this is actually a number of different diseases that cause inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the transparent tissue that covers the inner eyelid and the white of the eye. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are highly contagious. While everyone is at risk for conjunctivitis, it is a disease that spreads most rapidly through populations of children.
The lens of the eye is normally clear. It is located behind the iris and sends light to the retina, which in turn sends images to the brain. When the lens becomes cloudy it is called a cataract. This causes the light to not be focused in the way it needs to be. Cataracts are common with age but can also be caused by injury or an untreated eye disorder, like conjunctivitis. Cataracts can cause blurred vision, changes in color perception, increased light sensitivity, and night blindness.
Another set of eye disorders that is common with age, and the second leading cause of blindness, glaucoma is caused by fluid pressure in the eye and leads to progressive damage to the optic nerve. (Source) Glaucoma typically impacts the side, or peripheral, vision.
Linked to demodex mites, blepharitis is a common cause of dry eyes, noted because of the inflammation of the eyelids and dandruff-like scales that appear on the eyelashes. There are two types of blepharitis. Anterior blepharitis is on the edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are and posterior blepharitis is on the inner eyelid that contacts the eyeball. Typically this can be cleared up and prevented with an eye hygiene routine that includes daily use of Cliradex which has the demodex-eliminating compound T4O.
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that happens when the macula (part of the retina) changes. It is usually age related and occurs in women more often than men, and earlier than in men. (Source). Age related, or AMD, is a loss of central vision. This can either be atrophic (dry) or exudative (wet).
According to the American Optometric Association, most AMD is dry and has no known treatment. For those with wet AMD, however, laser treatment and medication may help when the disease is caught early enough.
If you have hordeolum, you have a stye. A stye occurs when the hair follicle of the eyelash becomes clogged with bacteria. This causes a hard, red, painful, boil. While most styes go away on their own, or with a little bit of hygienic help from a warm washcloth compress and cleansing with Cliradex, occasionally they require medical intervention or can cause serious complications.
This common vision issue causes blurred vision due to the irregular shape of the cornea, or the lens of the eye having an abnormal curve. This prevents light from correctly focusing on the retina, causing distance vision to be blurred. Headaches and eye strain can result from this disorder. Mild cases don’t generally impact vision significantly enough to require intervention, but serious cases will need corrective lenses or other medical intervention.
When progressive damage occurs to the retina in people with diabetes it is serious and can cause major vision issues, including blindness. Any vision loss is permanent unless it is surgically repaired. It is caused by tiny blood vessels in the eyes leaking fluid, which causes the retina to swell and vision to deteriorate. Fluid can also build up and change the shape of the lens. Control of blood sugar is the only way to control this disease.
For more information on these and other eye diseases and disorders, and to screen for risk factors or early symptoms, talk to your eye care professional.