Eye Care Terms

Eye care terms that describe conditions of your eyes. This is not a complete list of eye care conditions or diseases. Learning about your eye care can be confusing. I love when our patients ask about their eye health or conditions related to their eyes. Hopefully this eye care list will help you have a better understanding about your eye and vision.

How the Eye Works

The eyes are responsible for transmitting images to the brain, by focusing on an object. When your eye focuses on an object, an image is formed. The brain then processes the object, projecting a virtual image. The cornea is in the front of the eye and is responsible for focusing on an image. The crystalline lens is found in the anterior chamber of the eye. This lens adjusts your eyes to see objects far away, or within a short distance as well as close up. If a person’s cornea is too curved or not curved enough, they may have a refractive error. A refractive error means that the eye doesn’t focus clearly on an image. Refractive errors include Myopia, Hyperopia and Astigmatism. If you have any of these conditions you will need an ophthalmic lens to see clearly.

No matter what refractive error one may have, clear vision is possible with a good quality lens. Have your eyes examined once a year to ensure clear vision and good health.

Glossary of Eye Care Terms

Age Related Macular Degeneration: Deterioration of the macula which causes a decrease in vision. This affects our central vision which is our central vision and is the leading cause of blindness in ages 65 and older.

Amblyopia: A decrease in vision in one eye usually due to unknown etiology. Usually this occurs in children. Vision therapy will help with this condition.

Arcus: This is a whitish ring around the edge of your cornea. It can be an indication of high cholesterol.

Astigmatism: A condition where light doesn’t form evenly on the retina. This cause blurry vision and also can cause headaches.

Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a condition in which our eye lids are swollen or inflamed. Symptoms include itching, burning, pain, tearing and crusting around the eyes. May be associated with acne rosacea. The treatment varies depending on severity.

Cataracts: Cataracts form usually due to uv exposure from the sun. The lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. Generally we see this condition in the third term of life but you can be born with cataracts. This is treated with an inter-ocular lens implant.

Color deficiency: This means that you may not be able to distinguish between different colors. The male population is about 10% color deficient. The most common color deficiency is between red and green colors.

Conjunctivitis(Pink Eye): This is a generally term and is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The eye is swollen, red and often irritated. There are many types of conjunctivitis. These types can be Allergic, viral, bacterial or fungal and many more. Most of these are not dangerous but a few can be sight threatening.

Crystalline Lens: The Crystalline lens flexes and allows us to change focus from distance to near. Later in life this lens isn’t as flexible and thus we need reading eyeglasses, multifocal lenses or bifocal lenses.

Dry Eye Syndrome: This is a disease of the eye. Dry Eye Syndrome can be mild or very severe. Symptoms are red, burning, Itchy or sandy feeling. This is caused by  the eye not producing enough tears or oil for our tears. Our environment plays a big role as far as how dry our eyes feel.

Floaters and Spots: These are small hair-like or spots floating around in your vision. Usually you will see them in the sunlight or against a white background. Most of the time they are normal changes in the eye but could indicate something more serious like a vitreal detachment or retinal detachment.

Glaucoma: Usually is an increase in pressure within the eye causing damage to the optic nerve. This damages the nerve fibers which causes vision loss. While there is no cure it is treatable with eye drops and or surgery. There are many different types and causes of glaucoma.

Hyperopia: A condition where we can see better at distance than at near. This doesn’t mean you don’t need a correction at distance, it’s just better at that distance. Also called farsighted.

Iris: The beautifully colored part of the eye. The Iris is a muscle lined with pigment. It controls how much light enters the eye, similar to a camera auto focus lens.

Myopia: A condition is which distance objects are blurry. This is the most common type of vision correction. Also called nearsighted.

Optic Nerve: The optic nerve is a series of nerve bundles that forms the retina inside the eye. These nerve bundles transmit message from the eye and brain.

Photophobia: This means that you are light-sensitive. Lighter colored eyes are generally more sensitive. You may also have a condition that is temporarily causes your eyes to be more sensitive.

Presbyopia: The condition most of us don’t want to hear. That we need reading eyeglasses. This is a decrease in near vision usually around 40 years old. The crystalline lens doesn’t change shape and allow us to read. We can correct this with reading eyeglasses, multifocal lenses or bifocals.

Pterygium: The white growth usually nasally to the cornea. It is cause by over exposure to the sun. Pterygiums cause dryness so we prescribe lubricating drops. If this condition is severe it can be surgically removed. Wear those sunglasses!

Pupil: The pupil is the window to the eye. It controls the amount of light entering the eye and can control how we focus. The pupil can show signs of optic nerve problems.

Retina: The retina is the nerve fiber layer that translates light from an image into a message to the brain. This is a very complex system and includes our photo receptors. These photo receptors are called rods and cones.

Strabismus: Strabismus is a condition where both eyes don’t work well together. This is also called cross eyed. This can be one eye or both. This condition is treated with eyeglasses or surgery.

Visual Acuity: Visual acuity is the measure of how well you can see. We have a standardized chart to measure the ability to see. Typically we measure both with and without your correction. If you have “perfect vision” you have 20/20 vision. If you have 20/200 vision another person can see exactly the same as you 200 feet away while you are 20 feet away.

Schedule an appointment today with our Lincoln Park Eye Doctor and SEE the difference!


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