Dr. Ali Ghahary

Out of our five basic senses (which include sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), vision is one of the most important as it’s one we depend upon for our everyday routines. The eyes contain a wide range of tissues and structures that are both complex and also very sensitive, which is why it’s so crucial that you have regular check-ups with your optometrist to ensure your eyes are as healthy as they should be and that there are no underlying conditions you should be concerned about. Furthermore, if you are experiencing problems with your eyes, such as blurry vision, then it is also a good idea to get your eyes checked out. Below is a list of some of the most common conditions known to affect the eyes, how they are diagnosed, symptoms you should watch for, as well as how these conditions are treated.

Blurry vision, as mentioned, is one of the most common problems that is associated with the eyes. When you have blurred vision, you lose the sharpness of your eyesight. This loss of sharpness results in objects appearing hazy or out of focus, and you may also have difficulty reading. Blurred vision will typically only occur in one eye, though it is possible for it to affect both eyes. In many cases, the primary causes of blurred vision are refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism — however, there are other eye problems that can be the result of blurred vision, including different diseases of the eye, and even neurological disorders. With nearsighted and farsightedness, vision problems are typically corrected with a pair of glasses or contact lenses (if you suffer from dry eye, it’s usually recommended that you avoid the use of contacts), and you may also be a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. When you have astigmatism, your blurred vision will usually be noticeable at all distances. Astigmatism is also usually corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Along with eye strain, another common symptom that is associated with blurred vision or headaches, which is something glasses, contacts or surgery may be able to help relieve.

In older adults, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration are also common. A cataract is when the lens becomes clouded, causing your vision to appear blurry or tinted in colour, and you may also notice the appearance of halos surrounding objects that you look at — especially at night. Initially, a cataract may have little to no impact on your vision. However, they do progress, and once cataracts have reached a certain stage, they will require eye surgery for correction. Aside from age, you are at risk of developing a cataract if you are frequently exposed to UV radiation, if you have certain medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, if you smoke, have had a previous eye injury or eye surgery, if you are on certain medications such as corticosteroids or hormone replacement therapy, if you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, or if there is a history of cataracts in your family. Age-related macular degeneration (also known as AMD) tends to typically affect those over the age of 60 and is characterized as gradual damage macula’s cells with symptoms that include blurry vision and distorted vision. It is also considered to be one of the most prevalent causes of vision loss and blindness. Treatment for age-related macular degeneration can include laser therapy as well as anti-angiogenic drugs in which medication is injected into the eye to stop new formation of new blood vessels and block leakage from already-abnormal blood vessels that cause AMD.

Even if you don’t notice any abnormalities with your eyes, it’s important to go for regular check-ups so that you can be on top of your eye health and take necessary precautions against certain eye diseases as well as get the appropriate treatment should there be anything wrong with your eyes.

Originally published at https://alighahary.ca on May 3, 2021.

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca

Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. http://www.alighahary.ca