Common Eye Conditions

The eye is an amazing organ, constantly active and processing about 36,000 bits of information each hour. It is made up of intricate structures that relay information to the brain, enabling us to see. Some common conditions that affect the eyes are briefly explained below.

To make an appointment or discuss any concerns regarding your eye health or vision, call our friendly team on 9816 4100.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that can affect any age group. It is a common cause of sore, red eyelids and crusty eyelashes. The most common symptoms of blepharitis include burning or stinging eyes; crusty debris at the base of the eyelashes; irritated, watery eyes; itchy, swollen eyelid margins; grittiness or a foreign body sensation. We can evaluate and recommend an appropriate treatment to help manage your blepharitis.

Your lens sits right behind your pupil and its role is to bend the light to reach your retina so that you can see clearly. For your lens to do its job properly, it has to be transparent. When the lens becomes cloudy, this is known as a cataract. Having a cataract is like looking through a dirty window and is a leading cause of vision impairment. While most cataracts are found in people aged over 50, cataracts can also occur at younger ages.

If your world is starting to look a bit cloudy, or you are increasingly more glare sensitive, it is important to have a comprehensive eye examination.

Conjunctivitis is a condition where the white part of the eye becomes pink or red, due to the inflammation of the eye’s clear outer layer and the inside of the eyelid. It may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, in which case it is highly contagious. Other non-contagious causes include allergies, irritants, a foreign body in the eye or a blocked tear duct.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye. Poorly controlled blood sugar level is a risk factor. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss among working age Australians and all people with diabetes are at risk of vision loss and blindness. However, with timely detection and treatment, 98% of vision loss from diabetes is preventable.

You may not know you have diabetic retinopathy because it shows no symptoms until it is too late. If you have diabetes, it is critical to have comprehensive eye examinations to assess signs of potential problems.

We all tend to spend a large portion of our time in front of computer screens, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices, whether for educational purposes or just for fun. However, extended periods of device usage can result in significant eye strain, which can be particularly tough on developing eyes. Symptoms of digital eye strain (also known as computer vision syndrome) may include blurry vision, difficulty changing focus to distant objects, dry eyes and eye fatigue.

Dry eye is one of the most common eye conditions worldwide. It is a complex condition that affects the surface of the eye. There are many treatment options available. Symptoms may include a burning sensation, itchy, sore, red or watery eyes, blurred vision or the feeling of having something in your eye.

Floaters can appear as shadowy specks, cobwebs, clouds or lines that move across your field of vision. They are the result of liquification of the vitreous, a clear, jelly-like substance inside the eyeball. Some floaters will fade over time as your brain learns to ignore them.

Floaters can sometimes be associated with flashing lights, which may indicate retinal issues, including a tear or haemorrhage. While most floaters are harmless, if you notice flashes or floaters for the first time, or if you notice changes to floaters, you should book an urgent appointment.

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases where you lose vision due to damage to the optic nerve. Generally, there are no symptoms or warning signs in the early stages of glaucoma. Your loss of sight is usually gradual and a considerable amount of your peripheral (side) vision may be lost before you are aware of any problem. Hence its nickname ‘silent thief of sight’. Early detection and treatment of glaucoma means a better prognosis, reducing further damage and loss of vision.

A stye is a reddish lump on the upper or lower eyelid, usually caused by bacteria that live on your skin which are normally harmless. When the bacteria are transferred to your eye and become trapped in a gland or hair follicle, they cause an infection. A stye is filled with pus and inflammatory cells. It is usually tender to touch and can be very painful.

The macula is a very small part of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. The macula allows us to see fine detail and colours and is responsible for the detailed sharp vision that is used for reading, recognising faces and driving.

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the name given to a group of degenerative retinal eye diseases that cause progressive loss of central vision, leaving the peripheral (side) vision intact. It is the leading cause of legal blindness and severe vision loss in Australia.

The early detection of macular degeneration is crucial to saving sight. In its early stages macular degeneration may not result in noticeable visual symptoms, but it can be detected during an eye examination with your optometrist. The earlier that macular degeneration is detected, the better the outcome as steps can be undertaken to help slow its progression and preserve sight through treatment and lifestyle modifications.

A pterygium is fleshy, elevated, whitish pink or creamy-coloured tissue that grows in a triangular wedge shape over the cornea. It most commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye near the nose, but can also appear on the outer corner. It usually grows slowly, but may grow large enough to interfere with vision and cause eye discomfort. Pterygium is often referred to as ‘surfers’ eye’ because ultraviolet radiation from exposure to the sun appears to be the main cause for its development and growth.

As the name suggests, an ingrown eyelash grows inward instead of outward. As it grows, it can cause irritation to the eye and eyelid. They can occur on either the top or bottom eyelid and are more common in adults than children. Ingrown eyelashes can be removed by your optometrist.