At Lone Star Vision, we are committed to helping you understand as much as possible about your eyes and your vision care options. To get you started, we’ve put together this library of information on various eye-related topics.
Please feel free to call us if you’d like to learn more about these topics or about any other issues related to your eyes or your vision.
How the Eye Works
In order for the eye to see images clearly, the cornea (the clear portion on the front of the eye) and the lens must bend or curve light rays so they can focus on the fovea of the retina (the lining on the back portion of the eye). The retina is responsible for changing these light rays into signals that are then sent to the brain and accepted as an image.
A person with normal eyes (Emmetropia) will be able to see clear images because the cornea and lens are correctly focusing images on the retina. A person with refractive error sees blurry or hazy images because the cornea and lens are unable to focus light rays on the retina. This can be attributed to an improperly shaped eye (myopia, hyperopia, andastigmatism); a loss of lens accommodation (presbyopia); or a clouding of the lens of the eye (cataracts).
Fortunately, there are a variety of new and exciting treatments for myopia, presbyopia, hyperopia, including Corneal Refractive Therapy, Laser Vision Correction, and the new Multifocal Intraocular Lenses. These treatments are designed to either reshape the eye to correct refractive error or replace the natural lens of the eye to improve accommodation. Contact Lone Star Vision to learn more about our vision correction alternatives.
Nearsightedness is a vision condition in which near objects are seen clearly, but distant objects do not come into proper focus. Nearsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too long or the cornea has too much curvature, so the light entering your eye is focused in front of the retina rather than directly on the retina.
In addition to glasses andcontact lenses, laser procedures are also possible treatments for nearsightedness as is Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT), also known as Orthokeratology. CRT is a non-invasive procedure that involves the wearing of a series of specialty-designed rigid contact lenses to progressively reshape the curvature of the cornea over time.
Farsightedness is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is focused behind the retina rather than directly on the retina. Common signs of farsightedness include difficulty in concentrating and maintaining a clear focus on near objects, eye strain, fatigue and/or headaches after close work, and aching. Farsightedness can be corrected with glasses,contact lenses, or Laser Vision Correction.
Astigmatism is a vision condition that occurs when the front surface of your eye, the cornea, is slightly irregular in shape. This irregular shape prevents light from focusing properly on the back of your eye, the retina. As a result, your vision may be blurred at all distances. People with severe astigmatism will usually have blurred or distorted vision, while those with mild astigmatism may experience headaches, eyestrain, fatigue, or blurred vision at certain distances. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, which is correctable with glasses, contact lenses, Corneal Refractive Therapy, or Laser Vision Correction.
Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult for you to focus on close objects. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-40s. Presbyopia tends to be progressive, but it is not a disease, it is simply a natural part of the aging process. Some signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye that affects vision. Cataracts are generally found in patients over 55, but they can also be linked to certain medical conditions like diabetes, or trauma to the eye. Cataract symptoms become progressively worse over time and gradually cause significant vision loss. The best treatment for cataracts is lens replacement with either traditional monofocal lens implants, or the high performance accommodating implants such as Crystalens, ReZOOM, and ReSTOR multifocal lenses.
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the internal pressure in your eyes increases enough to damage the nerve fibers in your optic nerve and cause vision loss. As pressure increases, the optic nerve can become damaged, causing blind spots to develop. In the early stages of glaucoma, side vision (peripheral vision) may be affected, but if glaucoma is allowed to progress undetected, it is possible for the entire optic nerve to be destroyed, leading to significant vision loss or blindness. The treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medicines to lower the pressure in your eyes. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may be effective in reducing pressure.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes do not produce enough tears or that the tears your produce have an improper chemical composition. Often, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. It can also be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, medications like antihistamines, oral contraceptives and antidepressants, a dry climate, wind and dust, general health problems like arthritis and chemical or thermal burns to your eyes. If you have dry eye, your symptoms may include irritated, scratchy, dry, uncomfortable or red eyes, a burning sensation or feeling of something foreign in your eyes and blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome cannot be cured, but your optometrist can prescribe treatment so your eyes remain healthy and your vision is unaffected. Some treatments that your optometrist might prescribe include blinking more frequently, using artificial tears and using a moisturizing ointment. In some cases, small plugs are inserted in the corner of the eyes to slow tear drainage.
Many people experience eye irritation caused by common things in the environment such as dust and pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. These substances are called “allergens,” and they can cause symptoms such as swollen red eyes that often itch or water. An eye allergy can happen suddenly or some time after you come in contact with the allergen. We have effective prescription eye drops for the treatment allergic conjunctivitis.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in America. It results from changes to the macula, a portion of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision, and is located at the back of the eye. Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form, for which there is no known treatment. The less common wet form may respond to the latest retinal surgeries. Some common symptoms are a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. Recent research indicates certain vitamins and minerals may help prevent or slow the progression of macular degeneration.
Vitreous Detachment & Floaters
Floaters are small, semi-transparent or cloudy specks within the vitreous, which is the clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eyes. They appear as specks of various shapes and sizes, threadlike strands or cobwebs. Floaters are not dangerous and rarely limit vision. They typically occur from the deterioration of the vitreous fluid, due to aging, or from certain eye diseases or injuries. Floaters can be indications of more serious problems, and you should immediately come in for a comprehensive examination when you notice sudden changes or see increases in them.
Diabetes is a disease that interferes with the body’s ability to use and store sugar and can cause many health problems. One, called diabetic retinopathy, can weaken and cause changes in the small blood vessels that nourish your eye’s retina, the delicate, light sensitive lining of the back of the eye. These blood vessels may begin to leak, swell or develop brush-like branches.
The early stages of diabetic retinopathy may cause blurred vision and progress to blind spots or floaters. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness, which is one reason why it is important to have your eyes examined regularly by your doctor of optometry. This is especially true if you are a diabetic or if you have a family history of diabetes.