Eye Conditions and Diseases

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Explanations to many of the medical terms used before, during or after your exam

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Amblyopia Commonly called “lazy eye.” It is the loss or lack of central vision in one eye or the inability of the eye to focus.
Cataracts Opacity or cloudiness that usually develops gradually as the lens in the eye loses transparency and the lens material yellows. Cataracts are the leading cause of visual disability in people older than 65.
Conjunctivitis An inflammation of the conjuctiva, the thin, transparent layer that lines the inner eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

Diabetic Retinopathy Blood vessels that nourish your eye’s retina might begin to leak, swell or develop brush-like branches. Progression of the disease can produce cloudiness of vision, blind spots or floaters.
Diplopia Also known as double vision.
Dry Eye Occurs when tear glands produce too few tears, causing itching, burning or even reduced vision.
Floaters Tiny spots or specks that float across the field of vision. Generally harmless, they can be a warning of certain eye problems, especially if there is a sudden change.
Glaucoma A condition in which the pressure in the eye increases, causing eye damage and potential blindness. A leading cause of blindness in the United States, glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is detected and treated in time.
Macular Degeneration The progressive deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for central vision and a leading cause of blindness in America.
Ocular Hypertension An increase in the pressure in your eyes with no detectable changes in vision or damage to the eyes. The term is used to distinguish people with elevated pressure from those with glaucoma. It is also more common in people who are very nearsighted or who have diabetes.
Retinal Detachment The separation of the light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye (the retina) from its supporting layers.
Sclera The tough, white outer layer of the eyeball; with the cornea, it protects the entire eyeball.
Strabismus Also known as “cross eyes.” One or both eyes turn in, out, up or down, independent of the other eye.
Keratoconus – Keratoconus is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea (the front surface of the eye). As a result of the thinning, the normally round shape of the cornea is distorted and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment.

Automated Visual Fields Determine peripheral and central vision disorders.
Autorefractor Determines nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Biomicroscope/Slit Lamp Examines the eye in layer-by-layer detail.
Intraocular Pressure is pressure of the fluid inside the eye; normal IOP varies among individuals.
Keratometer An instrument used to check the front curvature of the cornea’s surface. This test is important for anyone interested in contact lenses.
Lensometer Measures the power of your current prescription lenses.
Ophthalmoscope A noninvasive, handheld instrument that allows the doctor to examine the internal portion of the eye for a wide range of problems.
Phoropter A mask-like instrument positioned so that each eye sees through a separate lens.

Optician are individuals in the field of designing, finishing, fitting and dispensing of eyeglasses and contact lenses, based on an eye doctor’s prescription. The optician also might dispense colored and specialty lenses for particular needs, as well as low-vision aids and artificial eyes. However an Optician does not have qualification to check and examine your eyes.
Optometrist is a professional who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures. They are also trained to diagnose related systemic conditions. Optometrists are individual with a doctorate in optometry thus fully qualified to examine your eyes. They prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low-vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and medications.
Ophthalmologist A physician (doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy) who specializes in the comprehensive care of the eyes and visual system and the prevention of eye disease and injury. The ophthalmologist is a physician who is qualified by lengthy medical education, training and experience to diagnose, treat and manage all eye and visual system problems, and is licensed by a state regulatory board to practice medicine and surgery.

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