Common Eye Conditions
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Diabetic retinopathy The retina is like a thin membrane that covers the back two thirds of the inside of the eye.  Like the film in a camera, it receives light and transmits signals through the optic nerve to the brain, allowing us to see.  Diabetes may cause blood vessels nourishing the retina to leak fluid or blood that can scar the retina causing blurred vision and eventual blindness.  This condition is called Diabetic Retinopathy.
Glaucoma A group of diseases characterised by increased pressure inside the eye.  If left untreated, causes blindness through permanent damage to the optic nerve.  Sometimes called "thief in the night" because there are often no symptoms until damage has been done.
Macular degeneration A degeneration of the central portion of the retina (macula) which is responsible for straight-on vision used in driving, reading, perceiving colours, and recognising faces.  The most common cause of blindness in people over 50 years of age.
Astigmatism A vision problem caused by an irregularly shaped cornea.  Light rays enter the eye through a smooth cornea (equally curved in all directions) and focus at a single point on the retina producing clear vision.  With astigmatism, light rays enter the eye through an irregularly shaped cornea and do not focus at a single point.  This produces a blurred or distorted image on  the retina.
Myopia A condition in which the visual images come to a focus in front of the retina of the eye, resulting in defective vision of distant objects.  Myopia is commonly known as nearsightedness.
Cataracts A clouding of the lens of the eye.  Usually occurs over a period of years and is caused by a chemical change in the protein which makes up the lens.  Most people over the age of 70 have cataracts.
Hyperopia A condition in which visual images come to a focus behind the retina of the eye and vision is better for distant than for near objects.  Hyperopia is commonly known as farsightedness.
Presbyopia A condition in which the eye is unable to focus on close objects due to a loss of elasticity in the lens.  Usually occurs after the age of 45.
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