List articles are everywhere these days but rarely contain life-changing info. You know the ones, with titles like “10 Celebrity Birthdays You Should Have a Baby On,” or “10 Reasons Why Chins Are in After COVID-19,” and our personal favorite – “The Top 10 Top Tens To Help You Live a Better Life.”
Of course, we wouldn’t do that to you here because the nJoy Vision blog only provides legitimately helpful content. And this post is definitely one of our most useful to date!
So read on to find out more about 10 of the most common eye problems in the United States, and the treatment options for each. If you don’t have time to tackle it right now, it definitely deserves a spot on your personal list of the “Top 10 Listicles To Save and Read Later.”
Jump to one of the 10 common eye problems in this article:
- Refractive Errors
- Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
- Diabetic Retinopathy
- Retinal Detachment & Tears
According to the National Institute of Eye Health, refractive errors are the most common eye problems and are correctable for 150 million Americans. These vision problems are caused by the shape of the eye not allowing light to focus on the retina properly and impact a person’s ability to see clearly up close or at a distance.
The three main types of refractive errors are:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (blurry images at multiple distances)
Symptoms of Refractive Errors
While most people with refractive errors notice some degree of difficulty seeing, some symptoms may not be detected until an eye exam. Common symptoms of refractive errors include:
- Blurry vision for distant objects (myopia)
- Blurry vision for close objects (hyperopia)
- Difficulty seeing objects at night (myopia, astigmatism)
- Distorted and blurry vision for close and distant ranges (astigmatism)
Treatments for Refractive Errors
- LASIK – This highly effective laser eye surgery procedure uses state-of-the-art, computer-guided lasers to create a flap in the top layer of the cornea and to reshape the cornea.
- PRK – Similar to LASIK, PRK is a minimally invasive method of reshaping the cornea. Unlike LASIK, the top layer of the cornea is gently removed and allowed to grow back on its own over a period of 2-4 days.
- Visian ICL – Instead of reshaping the cornea, an implantable collamer lens is placed between the iris and natural lens.
- Reading glasses
Presbyopia is a refractive error often related to aging that results in the inability to focus properly on close objects. Onset of symptoms usually begins in a patient’s 40s and gets worse until around 65. Regular eye exams will catch it, but a big indication is when a person starts moving what they’re reading further away than normal.
Symptoms of Presbyopia
Symptoms progress slowly and include:
- Blurry vision when reading at normal distance
- Eyestrain (sometimes with headaches) after reading
Treatments for Presbyopia
- KAMRA® Inlay – Similar to a camera lens on a camera, this microscopic corneal implant allows the eye to focus light onto the retina.
- RLE – Refractive Lens Exchange replaces the eye’s lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL).
- Monovision LASIK – This specialized LASIK technique corrects one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision.
- Monovision contact lenses
- Multifocal contact lenses
- Reading glasses
This eye disorder is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye that hinder light passing to the retina. Cataracts can form at any age, but are most common in people over the age of 50.
Symptoms of Cataracts
Cataracts form slowly until they show symptoms such as:
- Blurriness, cloudiness, or dim vision
- Colors appearing faded
- Frequent changes in contact lens or eyeglass prescription
- Problem seeing at night
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- Seeing “halos” around lights
Treatments for Cataracts
- Laser cataract surgery – Laser cataract surgery uses the same computer-guided technology as LASIK to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear intraocular lens (IOL).
Call (405) 842-6060 to schedule a nJoy Vision cataract consultation!
Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the cornea begins to thin and bulge or become cone-shaped. The irregular shape causes blurry vision and light sensitivity. Keratoconus typically develops in the late teens and gradually worsens over time. Advanced keratoconus may require cornea transplant surgery.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
Symptoms can vary and change as the disease progresses, but these are the common signs of keratoconus:
- Minor blurring of the vision
- Sensitivity to bright light and glare
- Increasingly blurred or distorted vision
- Streaking or flaring around light sources
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
- Poor night vision and difficulty driving at night
- Sudden worsening or clouding of vision
- Headaches and eye pain
Treatments for Keratoconus
- Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL) – Riboflavin eye drops are combined with ultraviolet light to induce the crosslinking of corneal collagen and strengthen the cornea.
- Intacs® – This innovative alternative to corneal transplant surgery places thin inserts around the outer edge of the cornea to reshape and flatten the cornea without removing any corneal tissue.
- IEK Corneal Transplant – Intralase enabled keratoplasty (IEK) uses an intralase femtosecond laser to replace a damaged or diseased cornea with healthy tissue from a donor cornea.
- Soft contact lenses (mild to moderate keratoconus)
- Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over the age of 60. This condition affects the macula, the central part of the retina, causing vision loss in the center of the field of vision.
There are two main types of AMD:
- Dry AMD – This form of AMD is associated with the buildup of small yellow deposits called drusen under the macula, causing the macula to get thinner and dry out. Approximately 80-90% of AMD cases are the dry type.
- Wet AMD – This type of AMD is much more serious and causes faster vision loss. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and sometimes leak or burst, scarring the macula.
Symptoms of Age-related Macular Degeneration
There are no definitive symptoms during early stage AMD, later stage symptoms can include:
- Blank spots in your vision
- Colors seem faded or changed
- Difficulty seeing in dim light
- Difficulty seeing things in the center of your vision
- Straight lines appearing wavy or blurry
Treatments for Age-related Macular Degeneration
There is no cure for AMD, but treatments that can prevent or slow vision loss include:
- Anti-VEGF injections – Anti-VEGF drugs help reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in the retina and slow leaking vessels.
- Photodynamic Laser Therapy (PDT) – This special laser treatment helps break down abnormal blood vessels in the back of the eye.
- Vision aids, e.g., magnifiers and large print materials.
- Vitamins & supplements including Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper
- Anti-angiogenic drugs that help block new or leaking blood vessel development.
Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults, resulting from damage to the blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye). Type 1 and 2 diabetics should be very aware of the symptoms and effects of diabetic retinopathy.
There are two types or stages of diabetic retinopathy.
- Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) – in this early stage when symptoms are mild or nonexistent, blood vessels in the retina become weakened and may leak fluid into the retina.
- Proliferative retinopathy (PDR) – during this advanced form of the disease, the retina is deprived of oxygen, causing new vessels to grow and leak into the vitreous, which leads to clouded vision.
Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy
Symptoms may not be noticeable in the early stages, but as the disease progresses, symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Dark spots or strings floating through in your vision (floaters)
- Fluctuating vision
- Trouble recognizing colors
- Vision loss
Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy
- Scatter laser surgery (photocoagulation) – This in-office procedure uses lasers to shrink the blood vessels in the eye by burning the spots where the retina has detached from the macula.
- Vitrectomy – The vitreous gel that fills the eye is removed, allowing for a number of repairs to the retina and macula.
- Anti-VEGF injections – Injecting anti-VEGF drugs can reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in the retina and slow leaking vessels.
- Corticosteroids – Steroid drugs are injected into the eye to reduce and inhibit inflammation.
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased eye pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss and blindness.
There are many types of glaucoma, but the most common type is open-angle glaucoma, affecting 9 out of 10 glaucoma sufferers. Other types of glaucoma include congenital glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency and can cause blindness quickly if not treated immediately.
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma symptoms vary depending on type and severity, but can include:
- Patchy blind spots in central or peripheral vision (open-angle)
- Tunnel vision (open-angle)
- Severe headache (angle-closure)
- Intense eye pain (angle-closure)
- Nausea and vomiting (angle-closure)
- Blurred vision (angle-closure)
- Light halos (angle-closure)
- Red eyes (angle-closure)
- Cloudy eyes (congenital)
- Light sensitivity (congenital)
- Extra tears (congenital)
- Larger than normal eyes (congenital)
Treatments for Glaucoma
- Trabeculoplasty – This simple treatment for open-angle glaucoma aims lasers at the eye’s drainage tissue to stimulate fluid drainage.
- Trabeculectomy – In this surgical procedure for open-angle glaucoma, extra fluid is drained from the eye through a tiny opening made in the top of the eye under the eyelid.
- MIGS – Minimally Invasive Glaucoma Surgery is a group of treatment approaches for mild glaucoma cases that use microscopic equipment and tiny incisions.
- Glaucoma Implant Surgery – This type of surgery is used to treat several types of glaucoma and involves implanting tiny tubes into the eye to drain fluid and relieve eye pressure.
- Prescription eye drops – Special types of eye drops applied to the eye can help drain fluid or lessen the amount of fluid the eye produces.
Retinal Detachment & Tears
Eye injuries and aging can cause small retinal tears that can lead to retinal detachment. The chance of vision loss increases the longer the tear or detachment goes untreated.
The types of retinal tears and detachments are:
- Rhegmatogenous – This condition results when complications from a small tear cause the retina to separate from the cell layer nourishing it.
- Tractional – This type of detachment is caused by the contraction of retinal scar tissue
- Exudative – Detachment due to eye injury and retinal diseases.
Symptoms of Retinal Detachment & Tears
- Blurred vision
- Seeing a curtain-like shadow through your field of vision
- Steadily receding peripheral vision
- Sudden appearance of floaters (tiny dots drifting through the field of vision)
- Sudden appearance of light flashes in one or both eyes
Treatments for Retinal Detachment & Tears
Retinal detachment is a medical emergency requiring early treatment to preserve and protect vision. Surgical treatment is almost always used to repair a retinal detachment or tear.
- Laser Surgery (photocoagulation) – This procedure, which uses lasers to burn around the retinal tear and “weld” it back to the underlying tissue, is used when a tear has not progressed to a detachment.
- Freezing (cryopexy) – Another procedure for retinal tears, cryopexy uses a freezing probe applied to the outer surface of the eye to create scar tissue that secures the retina to the eye wall.
- Pneumatic retinopexy – This treatment for retinal detachments uses a gas bubble injected into the eye to push the retina into place while a laser or cryopexy seals it back.
- Scleral buckling – A scleral buckle is a tiny, flexible band placed around the white part of the eye (sclera) that pushes the sides of the eye inward to help the retina reattach.
- Vitrectomy – The vitreous gel that fills the eye is removed, allowing the doctor to repair the retina using laser treatment, cryopexy, or pneumatic retinopexy.
Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)
Strabismus is a disorder that causes the eyes to not focus on the same point simultaneously. This can occur all the time or intermittently.
The four types of strabismus are:
- Esotropia – inward turning
- Exotropia – outward turning
- Hypotropia – downward turning
- Hypertropia – upward turning
Symptoms of Strabismus
- Crossed or misaligned eyes
- Loss of depth perception
- Double vision
- Eyes not focusing on a particular point at the same time
- Uncoordinated eye movements
- Tilting the head to look at things
Treatments for Strabismus
Eye muscle surgery – Surgically changing the length or position of the muscles that control eye movement can straighten the eyes.
- Eye exercises – A structured program of visual activities can improve eye coordination and focusing by training the brain and eyes to work together better.
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses – Corrective lenses enable the eyes to straighten by improving visual focus and redirecting the line of vision.
- Prism lenses – These specialized lenses are thicker on one end to change the way images reach the eye.
- Eye patches – Covering the normal functioning or dominant eye can strengthen the weaker eye by forcing it to focus correctly.
- Eye drops – Medicated drops that cause blurriness in the stronger force the weaker eye to compensate and focus properly.
- Injections – Injected medication can temporarily weaken or paralyze an overactive eye muscle.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)
This eye problem causes poor vision in just one eye and is the result of the brain and the affected eye not working together correctly. It is the most common cause of vision impairment in children.
Symptoms of Amblyopia
Parents often don’t know a child has amblyopia until diagnosed by an eye doctor. Signs of amblyopia include:
- Shutting one eye
- Head tilting
Treatments for Amblyopia
- Eye drops – Medicated drops that cause blurriness in the stronger eye force the weaker eye to compensate and focus properly.
- Eye patch – Covering the normal functioning eye can force the brain to use the weaker eye to see.
Find Your Fresh Perspective
If you’ve made it to the bottom of this article about 10 of the most common eye disorders in the United States, chances are you suffer from one of the eye problems we covered. But don’t worry, you are not alone!
According to research from the Vision Impact Institute, 3 out of 4 people in the U.S. have vision correction. Furthermore, a 2018 National Health Interview Survey estimates that 32.2 million American adults over the age of 18 are blind, unable to see, or have trouble seeing even while wearing glasses or contacts. And according to the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS), more than 500,000 American children under the age of 17 are blind or have serious difficulty seeing even while wearing glasses or contacts.
While we don’t treat every disorder mentioned in this article, nJoy Vision is proudly leading the way in laser vision correction by offering our patients life-changing treatment options for refractive errors, cataracts, and keratoconus.
But even if your vision problem isn’t one we can correct with our revolutionary laser technology, we want to help you find your fresh perspective. That’s why we tirelessly advocate for comprehensive eye exams and create informative content that promotes eye health and awareness.
If you think you might be one of the millions of Americans with impaired vision, schedule a comprehensive eye with your eye doctor as soon as possible. And if you need help finding a reputable optometrist near you, start with our list of affiliate eye doctors.
Together with our referring physicians, eye surgeons, and clinic staff, nJoy Vision is bringing a fresh perspective to patient-focused eye care.