Have you ever wondered what is wrong with your eyes?

blue eye

SOME USEFUL DEFINITIONS of EYE PROBLEMS

Ingrown Eyelashes / Trichiasis

Ingrown eyelashes are a fairly common problem affecting both males and females of all Nationalities and affecting a wide age group.

The medical name for ingrowing eyelashes is “Trichiasis” pronounced tri-ke-a-sis.

Ingrowing eyelashes or trichaisis is a painful and potentially damaging eye condition, where the eyelashes grow inwards towards the eye.

The constant rubbing of those eyelashes on the cornea can lead to infection and eventual scarring and vision problems. Ingrowing eyelashes can be of a normal colour and thickness or very fine and white or pale and are extremely hard to see. There is no permenant cure. The only solution being to remove the offending eyelashes.

Even one ingrown eyelash causes pain and irritation to the eye, with soreness, watering and redness of the eye being present until the offending ingrowing eyelashes are removed.

They need to be attended to promptly so that further eye problems will be avoided.


Check www.owneye.com for a useful instrument to help you to see an ingrown eyelash magnified so large that you can remove it easily.

Often people who suffer ingrown eyelashes also have dry eyes and possibly blepharitis. See the articles on dry eyes on this blog. An article on Blepharitis will be available soon.

Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism & Presbyopia

Short sight (myopia) and long sight (hyperopia) are common conditions, both caused by the cornea and lens not focusing properly on the retina.

Myopia

Myopia, better known as  near sightedness or short-sightedness, is the most common type of refractive error and is a condition that results in blurred distance vision. This occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature. If you have myopia, objects in the distance appear out of focus and may lead you to squint or strain when trying to see distant objects clearly.

Short sight (myopia) is where the eyeball is elongated or the lens is too thick, causing the image to focus in front of the retina.

Symptoms: The main symptom of myopia is blurred vision. If you are myopic, you have trouble viewing things at a distance such as the blackboard, television or street signs. The blurred vision can be worse at night and can also contribute to headaches and eyestrain

Hyperopia

Hyperopia, sometimes referred to as far sightedness or long-sightedness, results when structural defects in the eye cause your vision to be blurry. This can include the cornea having too little curvature or the eyeball being too short, causing light entering the eye to focus incorrectly. If you have hyperopia, you see distant objects more clearly than close objects, though both near and distant vision may be affected, and you may have trouble focusing when performing tasks such as reading or sewing.

Long sight (hyperopia) is where the eyeball is too short or the lens too thin, causing the image to focus behind the retina.

Symptoms: The main symptom of hyperopia is blurred vision, especially when viewing close objects. If you have hyperopia, you may also experience frequent headaches; aching eyes or eyestrain; blurred vision, especially at night; and difficulty performing tasks up close, such as  reading or sewing.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the normal worsening of near vision with age. As middle age approaches, the eyes’ lenses tend to thicken and lose flexibility. The ability of the lens to bend allows your eyes to focus on objects at varying distances. The loss of this ability means that the vision declines and typically close objects begin to appear blurry or fuzzy, as they cannot be brought into focus.

Symptoms: As with all of these conditions, a common symptom of presbyopia is blurred vision due to an inability to focus on objects at different distances, but especially up close. If you notice yourself needing to hold a book or newspaper farther from your face to focus on it, you are probably developing presbyopia.

Age and genetics are the two primary contributing factors to these eye conditions.

Recent research has indicated a link between close work, such as reading and the development and progression of short or nearsightedness (myopia). Studies show that people in professions that involve extensive reading have higher degrees of nearsightedness.

Researchers don’t fully understand why some people develop hyperopia or astigmatism and others don’t. Some contributing factors to astigmatism may include: the weight of the upper eyelid resting on the eyeball, blunt eye trauma, scarring in the cornea from causes like infections or surgery, or changes in corneal shape following eye surgery.

As you age, your eyes lose the ability to change the shape of the lens to focus on near objects (accommodation). Known as presbyopia and typically noticed after age 40, this is unavoidable. Once you find yourself reaching for eyeglasses to read or see items up close, it’s an indication presbyopia is setting in.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is also a very common refractive error responsible for blurry vision and often occurs in combination with myopia or hyperopia. The inability of the eye to focus clearly at any distance because of uneven curvatures of the cornea is known as astigmatism. Instead of having uniform curvatures in all meridians, astigmatic corneas have more curvature in one meridian than the others. Corneas with pronounced astigmatism are shaped more like a football than a well-rounded soccer ball.

Symptoms: Most people with astigmatism experience distorted vision at all ranges. If you are only slightly affected, you may not notice that much is wrong with your vision. Other symptoms of astigmatism include blurring of small print causing difficulty in reading and the inability to see both near and far without squinting.

Ref. Alcon Pty Ltd

Interesting Statistics

Worldwide Presbyopia (age related) = 1.04 billion predicted to grow to 1.4 billion by 2020

Worldwide Myopia (short sighted)     = 1.6 billion predicted to grow to 2.5 billion by 2020

Myopia is increasing due to a massive growth in computer screen & text activity.

(ref ICCE ) ref Vision CRC

Globally in 2008 there were approximately 670 million people with significant vision impairment.
( ref. Prof. Brein Holden )

The most common long-term conditions that affected the health of older persons in 2001 included diseases of the eye, particularly

Hyperopia/ long-sightedness  =46%

Myopia/ short sightedness       =31%

Presbyopia/ age related = 34%

Diseases of the eye increased consistently with age: the reported prevalence of long-sightedness was 24% and presbyopia 7% for persons aged 15-64 years in 2001.

The most commonly reported conditions were diseases of the eye in 2005 (90%), particularly

Hyperopia/long sightedness  = 62%,

Myopia / short sightedness 35%.

presbyopia/ age related               = 14%


Below are figures for 2007- 2008

The most commonly reported long-term conditions in 2007/2008 were problems with eyesight affecting 60% of adults.

Hyperopia / Long sightedness = 29% males & 36% females

Myopia / Short sightedness        = 25% males & 31% females

Which means that although these statistics are not up to date there is significant growths in hyperopia, myopia and presbyopia especially in a constantly increasing ageing Worldwide population.

Both long and short sightedness can be overcome by wearing glasses.

** Therefore it is MOST important to have your eyes checked regularly, ideally every one or two years.

Global Eye care

There is an explosion in the need for eye care worldwide, with billions of people in the world needing spectacles/ glasses.

This figure is growing rapidly, driven by:

  1. A massive growth in the number of people with myopia due to increased urbanisation and text  and screen-based activity (near work). For example, in Singapore a series of studies has shown an increase in myopia in males aged 15-25, from 26% of this group in the late 1970s, to 83% in the late 1990s [Wu 2001, Au Eong 1993, Chew 1988].

It is estimated that the number of people with myopia worldwide will grow from the current figure of 1.6 billion to 2.5 billion by 2020 [ICEE data 2002].

  1. An ageing population means that presbyopia (an age-related difficulty of focusing on near objects) will soon affect over 40% of the world’s population. A recent study has put the number of people with presbyopia at 1.04 billion – estimated to grow to 1.4 billion by 2020 [Brien Holden et al. 2008].

These figures were collated from many sources and were accurate at the time of writing this article. Up to date statistics were not available as yet, but indications show that figures are predicted to grow substantially, especially due to our obsession with computers and mobile / cell phones. We strain our eyes constantly and need to rest our eyes often when using these important items in our daily lives.

Again it is very important to have eye tests regularly and to really take care of your eyesight.


It is one of the most precious gifts we have and must not to be taken for granted.

More definitions coming soon….what is Blepharitis??

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