LEARN ABOUT COMMON EYE
CONDITIONS AND DISORDERS
At OPSM we’re passionate about helping you see more clearly, because you should never miss life’s precious moments. So if you recognise any of the following conditions, please book an eye test or visit an OPSM store and our optometrists will help explain what’s going on and what needs to be done.
If you can see close objects clearly but have trouble focusing on objects in the distance, you are probably short sighted or have myopia. You may find it difficult to read signs, watch television or recognise people walking down the street towards you.
When long sighted, your distance vision is good, but you have trouble with closer objects, which appear blurred. Other symptoms include eye fatigue, headaches and aching eyes, especially after reading or working on a computer. Experiencing difficulty seeing characters when texting may also be a sign of hyperopia or long sight.
Irregular Shaped Eye
Most people don’t have a perfectly shaped cornea. However, when the curve is pronounced, your vision may be blurred and this is known as astigmatism. This is very common and is not a disease.
Age Related Long Sight
If you’re over 40 years of age and notice that it’s becoming difficult to read the menu in a low lit restaurant, or if you have to extend your arms when reading a book or sending a text, you’re probably suffering from presbyopia. This is a natural part of growing older and occurs when your eyes lose their ability to bring close objects into clear focus.
Age Related Macular Degeneration
Once you’re aged over 40, the chances of developing age related macular degeneration increases. It is the leading cause of blindness in Australia* and can lead to loss of vision if not treated early.
There are two types of this condition, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. Both affect your central vision, however the wet version is more serious as it may create scar tissue which blocks your central vision.
For most people, cataracts occur naturally as a sign of ageing. A cataract clouds the lens of your eye, making it look milky, and the condition becomes worse over time. Symptoms include hazy vision causing blurred or distorted images, colours that appear more yellow, dark spots or shadows that move when your eye moves and needing more light to see clearly.
Dry eyes occurs when your eyes aren’t lubricated enough, the chemical composition of your tears is not balanced or you don’t produce enough tears.
It can lead to uncomfortable sensations such as scratchy, itchy or dry eyes. You may also experience burning or red eyes and blurred vision. Strangely enough, dry eyes may sometimes feel watery too.
Glaucoma affects your peripheral vision slowly and may not be noticeable until it’s advanced.
The disease affects the nerve fibres at the back of your eye. Once the fibres die, you’ll experience loss of vision and potentially blindness so it’s really important for us to diagnose this condition early.
Pterygium is a triangular shaped piece of tissue that grows on the white part of the eye, usually close to your nose. It’s not dangerous, but wearing sunglasses and lenses with UV protection will often slow down any further growth.
Spots or Floaters
Almost everyone will notice a few spots in their vision, especially as we grow older. These floating specks are in the fluid of the eye and are harmless, unless they suddenly increase in number or size. In that case, please call your nearest OPSM store immediately and book an eye test.
If you’ve been outdoors all day, even if it was cloudy, and your eyes feel red and painful, you may have sunburn. If you experience changes in your vision after time outside or have sore red eyes, please call us or visit an OPSM store.
It’s important to note that not all sunglasses provide the same level of UV protection, with many fashion spectacles offering only some protection from UV rays. Read more about ARPANSA Sunglass Standards.
* Source: Macular Degeneration Foundation