You deserve to completely understand the diagnosis and treatment options given to you by your optometrist. The terms and definitions below will help you understand some of the more common eye problems, eye diseases and treatment options available to you. As always, talk with your optometrist about your specific vision problems, eye care needs and treatments.
The remainder or remnants of a cataract that has been removed, or a new opaque layer that forms after the removal of an extra capsular cataract from the eyes.
Also known as: secondary cataract, after cataract
Also known as lazy eye, amblyopia is when one or both eye has decreased vision and often does not track in concert with the other eye. There is no detectable damage to the eye or eye pathways, and the lazy eye is usually not correctable by contacts or glasses. Amblyopia may sometimes be treated in childhood by wearing an eye patch over the “good” eye to correct the eye with decreased vision.
Also known as: lazy eye
The aqueous humor is the watery, clear fluid that fills the eye between the cornea and the vitreous humor. The aqueous humor washes over the eye lens to keep the corneal, iris and lens hydrated and maintain the pressure within the eye.
Also known as: humor, eye aqueous humor
Discomfort of the eye that occurs with eye use. Asthenopia may present as eyestrain, headache or general minor pain in, around or near the eyes. Asthenopia may be caused or exacerbated by poor eyesight or refractive problems.
Also known as: eye pain, headache caused by vision
Astigmatism occurs when eye cornea or the lens inside the eye is misshapen, causing light refraction to be uneven in the eye. This prevents a sharp image from focusing on the retina. Minor astigmatism may not cause problems or be noticeable. However, major astigmatism problems may cause blurred vision and headaches, among other eye problems.
Eye glasses or contact lenses that have two different prescription powers in each lens. Bifocal lenses allow for correction of vision both near and far in one lens.
Also known as: bifocal contacts, bifocal glasses, bifocal lenses
Inflammation of the eyelids and/or eyelashes that causes red, itchy, irritated eyelids. The formation of scaly skin that resembles dandruff is also common.
Also known as: red eye, itchy eyes
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. This cataract forms on the retina and may require surgical removal to prevent vision loss. Cataracts may be caused by age, disease, trauma or congenital conditions.
Also known as: eye cataracts, cataract removal
Cataract removal is the removal of the cloudy or opaque lens of the eye. Extra capsular cataract removal leaves the rear lens intact, while intracapsular cataract extraction completely removes the lens.
Also known as: cataract extraction, extra capsular cataract removal, intracapsular cataract removal
A lump that forms in the eyelid due to blockage and swelling of the oil glands. Chalazions are slowly growing and sometimes dissolve on their own. Severe inflammation or cases that don’t resolve on their own may need to be removed surgically.
Also known as: internal hordeolum, hordeolum, eye sty, stye
Individuals who are color blind have a reduced ability to see and determine differences between colors. Red and green are most often confused. Color blindness is usually a hereditary condition and may possibly be corrected by specialty glasses or contact lenses.
Also known as: color vision deficiency
computer vision syndrome
A range of eye problems and vision-related issues that occur with prolonged computer use. Individuals who spend their working hours behind a computer screen may experience headaches, vision changes, eyestrain and other symptoms related to their computer use.
Also known as: computer eyes, headache after computer use, computer-related eye strain
Inflammation of the conjunctiva, the transparent mucous membrane covering the surface of the eyeball and inner eyelids. Conjunctivitis usually presents as eye discharge, gritty-feeling eyes, redness and swelling of the eyes. Conjunctivitis can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergic reaction, and may be contagious.
Also known as: pink eye
The cornea is the transparent part of the eyeball that covers the pupil, iris and anterior eye chamber. It provides most of the eye’s vision power.
Also known as: eye cornea, corneal layer
Any cut, scratch or abrasion on the eye cornea.
Also known as: eye scratch, eye abrasion, eye cut
When the eyes don’t look in the same direction at the same time, especially if they both focus inward toward the nose. One eye may deviate inward toward the nose while the other focuses normally, or both eyes may look inward.
Also known as: estropia
Individuals with diabetes may experience progressive damage to their eyes, particularly the retina, which is the light-sensitive lining on the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy may present as early stage background retinopathy and may advance to proliferative retinopathy, where new blood vessels and fibrous tissue grow abnormally and create vision problems.
Also known as: diabetes retinopathy, diabetic eye problems, background retinopathy, proliferative retinopathy
When the eyes don’t have sufficient tears to lubricate the eye, a condition known as dry eye occurs. Dry eye may feel like gritty eyes, a foreign body is in the eyes, a burning sensation, and may erode conjunctiva and the cornea surface. Dry eye may be treated by eye drops, other medications, or changes in lifestyle.
Also known as: dry eyes, computer eye syndrome, dry eye syndrome
Farsightedness occurs when objects far away are seen clearly but objects that are close are blurry or unfocused.
Also known as: hyperopia
Small particles that float in the vireous humor and cast shadows on the retina that appear as cobwebs, spots or dots in the vision. Floaters are usually related to aging, vitreous detachment, retinal damage or eye inflammation.
Also known as: eye floaters, eye spots
A series of eye diseases that are all related by increased inner eye pressure. Glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and retinal nerve fibers, and is a common cause of preventable vision loss. Glaucoma is usually treated by prescription drugs or surgery.
Also known as: eye pressure changes
Eye disease that affects the macula or center of the retina at the back of the eye. Macular degeneration causes the loss of central vision and may cause complete blindness. It is usually a genetic condition.
Also known as: macular blindness
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a focusing defect of the eye that affects focusing on objects in close range is easy, but objects farther away are blurry.
Also known as: nearsightedness
A doctor of optometry that specializes in vision problems, treating vision problems with eyeglasses and contact lenses, and can prescribe medications for eye diseases.
Also known as: doctor of optometry, OD, eye doctor
Sensitivity to and discomfort from light. Photophobia may occur from inflammation of the cornea or iris of the eye, and may be accompanied by excessive tears.
Also known as: light sensitivity, sensitivity to light
When the retina at the back of the eye separates from the underlying tissue.
Also known as: detachment of the retina, torn retina, retinal tears
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