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Common Eye Conditions

VISION CORRECTION

Myopia/Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.

Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition affecting nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Some research supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that it is influenced by the visual stress of too much close work.

Generally, nearsightedness first occurs in school-age children. Because the eye continues to grow during childhood, it typically progresses until about age 20. However, nearsightedness may also develop in adults due to visual stress or health conditions such as diabetes.

If you are nearsighted, please call today to schedule an appointment with Drs. Reynolds or Stockbridge.

Common Myopia Myths

Hyperopia/Farsightedness

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.

Common signs of farsightedness include difficulty in concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, aching or burning eyes, irritability or nervousness after sustained concentration.

Common vision screenings, often done in schools, are generally ineffective in detecting farsightedness. A comprehensive optometric examination by either Dr. Reynolds or Dr. Stockbridge will include testing for farsightedness.

Hyperopia FAQs

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.

Astigmatism is a very common vision condition. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don't affect vision and don't require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches.

Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or "refract" light.

The specific cause of astigmatism is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can change as a child grows and may decrease or worsen over time. Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Stockbridge can assess astigmatism during a comprehensive eye exam.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects.

Presbyopia may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented.

Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm's length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia.

To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Because presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs.

Because the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eyewear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision.

DRY EYES

Dry eye is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults.

With each blink of the eyelids, tears are spread across the front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. Tears provide lubrication, reduce the risk of eye infection, wash away foreign matter in the eye, and keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear. Excess tears in the eyes flow into small drainage ducts, in the inner corners of the eyelids, which drain in the back of the nose.

Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage.

The most common form of dry eyes is due to an inadequate amount of the water layer of tears. This condition, called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), is also referred to as dry eye syndrome.

People with dry eyes may experience symptoms of irritated, gritty, scratchy, or burning eyes, a feeling of something in their eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision. Advanced dry eyes may damage the front surface of the eye and impair vision.

Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge aim their treatments for dry eyes at restoring or maintaining the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain eye health.

Retinal Conditions

Macular Degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a breakdown or deterioration of the Macula which is the part of the retina in the back of your eye that is responsible for your central vision. The macula, although a small area in the back of the eye allows you to see very fine detail. Macular degeneration in the early stages may not cause any symptoms but once the disease progresses patients may have symptoms such as blurriness, dark areas or distortion in your central vision, and possibly loss of central vision. In more advance cases patients may be left using primarily there peripheral vision to perform their daily tasks. There are many risk factors that contribute to Macular degeneration and some of them included a Family history, light colored eyes, obesity, smoking, hypertension, and UV/ blue light exposure. Many people are not aware that they have Macular Degeneration until they have a noticeable decline in their vision. Yearly eye examinations will help detect this condition early so that appropriate precautions could be taken. If you have a family member with Macular Degeneration or are concerned that you may be at risk for getting it then Dr. Greg Stockbridge and Dr. Jim Reynolds at the Holly Springs Clarity Vision eye center will be happy to do a thorough evaluation of your eyes to evaluate you for Macular Degeneration along with various other ocular conditions.

Flashes & Floaters

When people reach middle age, the gel that fills the eye called the vitreous may start to shrink, forming strands or clumps within the fluid gel. As this change occurs the vitreous gel can pull away from the back lining of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. During this process the back lining of the eye called the retina could tear or detach. When this process is occurring patients may experience flashes of light or a new onset of floaters. The appearance of floaters and flashes may be alarming, especially if they suddenly develop. To find out if a retinal tear or detachment is occurring, you should call your Eye Doctor right away if you notice the following symptoms, especially if you have had an injury to your eyes or head, have a moderate or high amount of nearsightedness or are over 45 years of age:
  • A sudden appearance of flashes of light.
  • A sudden increase in number or size of floaters
  • Notice a shadow or curtain appear in the periphery (side) vision
  • See a gray curtain moving across your field of vision
  • Notice a sudden decline in your vision
If you notice any of these symptoms or if you have any concerns then Dr. James Reynolds and Dr. Greg Stockbridge will be happy to see you for a complete eye evaluation.

Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious sight-threatening complication from diabetes that could occur in patients with Diabetes. Over time diabetes can damage the circulatory system of the retina, which is the lining in the back of the eye responsible for sight. The tiny damaged blood vessels can leak blood and other fluids that can cause retinal swelling and cloudy vision. If enough damage occurs to the retina from lack of adequate blood supply new blood vessels could form potentially causing a retinal detachment that could lead to blindness if left untreated or not caught early. Diabetic retinopathy usually affects both eyes and the longer a person has diabetes the more likely it is to develop in the eyes.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Seeing spots or floaters in your field of vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Having a dark or empty spot in the center of your vision
  • Difficulty seeing well at night
Often patients with early stages of diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms. That is why the Dr. Greg Stockbridge and Dr. Jim Reynolds, along with the American Optometric Association recommend that everyone with diabetes have a comprehensive dilated eye examination once a year. Early detection and treatment can help limit the potential for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy. If you are diabetic feel free to contact our office to schedule you’re a comprehensive diabetic eye examination.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve in the back of the eye. The Optic nerve is composed of nerve fibers that travel from the retina to the brain carrying signals that are interpreted as the images that you see. Glaucoma can cause blindness if left untreated. Only about half of the three million Americans who have glaucoma actually know that they have the condition. It used to be thought that if your intraocular pressures were above the normal range of 10-21 mmHg that you would develop Glaucoma. We now know that this is not always the case, a patient could have higher than normal pressures and not get glaucoma and a patient could have normal pressure and get glaucoma.

The treatment for glaucoma includes medications, laser or surgery and all three aim to lower the intraocular pressure. Choice of treatment depends on many factors that will need to be discussed with your Eye Doctor. Fortunately, early detection with yearly eye examinations and treatment can help preserve your vision.

Dr. Greg Stockbridge and Dr. Jim Reynolds each have over 14 years of experience diagnosing and treating glaucoma. They perform thorough eye examinations with dilation to help evaluate each and every one of their patients for this condition.

Cataracts

A Cataract is a clouding of your eye’s natural lens. When light enters the eye it passes through the natural lens and focuses onto the retina, the layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye. When the lens becomes cloudy things do not seem to be as bright or colorful and the images become out of focus. When a Cataract first starts you may notice that your vision driving at night becomes more difficult or when you read you find yourself needing more light. As the Cataracts continue to progress your vision may become more dim and blurry making it difficult to perform some of your daily activities. Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss but fortunately they are treatable with cataract surgery.

During a complete eye examination with Dr. Greg Stockbridge or Dr. Jim Reynolds at the Holly Springs Clarity Vision Center, they can determine whether a cataract is the cause of your vision loss. Both Dr. Stockbridge and Dr. Reynolds are happy to co-manage your cataract surgery with your surgeon.

COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME / DIGITAL EYESTRAIN

Digital eye strain is the temporary discomfort that follows two or more hours of digital device use. A variety of electronic devices can cause digital eye strain, including televisions, desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and gaming systems, especially when they are used simultaneously or when switching repeatedly from one device to another.

Research shows computer eye problems are common. Somewhere between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms of eye trouble.

In addition, working adults aren't the only ones vulnerable to computer vision syndrome. Kids who stare at portable video games or who use computers throughout the day at school also can experience eye problems related to computer use, especially if the lighting and computer position are less than ideal.

Common Symptoms of Digital Eyestrain may include:

  • Headache
  • Tired Eyes
  • Neck or Back Pain
  • Burning/Stinging Eyes
  • Difficulty focusing after extended periods of time

Visual fatigue can be diagnosed through an eye exam and a discussion on your lifestyle and work habits. If you have visual fatigue, Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge have new technology designed to help you combat it.

What can I do about it?

Visual fatigue can be diagnosed through an eye exam and a discussion on your lifestyle and work habits. If you have visual fatigue, Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge have new technology designed to help you combat it.

During a computer vision exam, our doctors will perform tests to detect any vision problems that might contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your doctor may prescribe computer eyeglasses to help you work more comfortably at your computer.

In addition to increasing comfort during computer use, recent studies have shown that computer eyeglasses can increase computer worker productivity, with cost savings to employers who provide the eyewear.

For more information on ways to reduce Digital Eyestrain visit:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/03/health/digital-eyestrain/

PEDIATRIC VISION CONCERNS

Amblyopia/Lazy Eye

A common vision problem in children is amblyopia, or "lazy eye." It is so common that it is the reason for more vision loss in children than all other causes put together. Amblyopia is a decrease in the child’s vision that can happen even when there is no problem with the structure of the eye. The decrease in vision results when one or both eyes send a blurry image to the brain. The brain then “learns” to only see blurry with that eye, even when glasses are used. Only children can get amblyopia. If it is not treated, it can cause permanent loss of vision.

In order to have normal vision, it is important that both eyes develop equal vision. If a child has amblyopia and cannot use his or her eyes normally, vision does not develop properly and may even decrease. After the first nine years of life, the visual system is normally fully developed and usually cannot be changed.

If amblyopia treatment is not begun as early as possible, several problems can develop that can seriously affect vision from childhood into adulthood:

  • the amblyopic eye may develop a serious and permanent visual defect;
  • depth perception (seeing in three dimensions) may be lost, because good vision in both eyes is needed;
  • if the stronger eye becomes diseased or injured, it can mean a lifetime of poor vision.

People with amblyopia in one eye are more than twice as likely to lose vision in the healthy eye from trauma. If the vision in one eye should be lost later in life from an accident or illness, it is essential that the other eye have normal vision. Another important reason to make sure amblyopia is detected and treated as early as possible in childhood: people who have good vision in only one eye may find they are limited in the kinds of jobs they can perform. Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge can teach you how amblyopia can be treated, and can help you and your child successfully carry out this treatment.

Strabismus/Crossed Eyes

Strabismus is a visual problem in which the eyes are not aligned properly and point in different directions. One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. The eye turn may be consistent, or it may come and go. Which eye is straight (and which is misaligned) may switch or alternate.

Maintaining proper eye alignment is important to avoid seeing double, for good depth perception, and to prevent the development of poor vision in the turned eye. When the eyes are misaligned, the brain receives two different images. At first, this may create double vision and confusion, but over time the brain will learn to ignore the image from the turned eye. If the eye turning becomes constant and is not treated, it can lead to permanent reduction of vision in one eye, a condition called amblyopia or lazy eye.

The goal of strabismus treatment is to improve eye alignment which allows for better work together (binocular vision). Treatment may involve eye glasses, eye exercises, prism, and/ or eye muscle surgery. Both Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Stockbridge can diagnose Strabismus and recommend a course of action.

When Should My Child Have An Exam?

The American Optometric Association recommends that children with no risk factors or symptoms have their first eye exam at 6 months of age. They should have an exam again at age 3 and once more before starting school. Once they are in school an annual exam is recommended.

An exam by an optometrist is much more complete than a brief screening at the pediatrician. Both Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge are able to perform a thorough eye exam on children of all ages.

ALLERGIES/RED EYES

Eye allergies often are hereditary, and occur due to processes associated with other types of allergic responses. When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes may be overreacting to a substance perceived as harmful, even though it may not be. These substances are called allergens. For example, dust that is harmless to most people can cause excessive production of tears and mucus in eyes of overly sensitive, allergic individuals.

Allergies can trigger other problems, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and asthma. Combined nasal and eye allergies create a condition known as rhinoconjunctivitis. About 30 to 50 percent of U.S. residents have allergy symptoms. And about 75 percent of those symptoms affect the eyes.

Allergy Symptoms and Signs

Common signs of allergies include:

  • Itchy, red eyes and swollen eyelids
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Headache from sinus congestion

In addition to these symptoms, you also may feel fatigued and could suffer from lack of sleep.

Drs. Reynolds and Stockbridge recommend avoiding allergy triggers as the first line of treatment. Itchy eyes? Keep your home free of pet dander and dust and keep pets off the furniture. Stay inside with the air conditioner on when a lot of pollen is in the air. Use high quality furnace filters that trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently. Make sure you wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from allergens, and drive with your windows closed during allergy season.

If you're not sure what's causing your eye allergies, or you're not having any luck avoiding them, your next step probably will be medication to alleviate the symptoms. Both doctors are able to recommend over-the-counter or prescription eyedrops if needed.