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Vision Conditions

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Astigmatism

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, eye strain, fatigue or blurred vision at certain distances. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing to diagnose astigmatism and determine the degree. Almost all levels of astigmatism can be optically corrected with properly prescribed and fitted eyeglasses and/or contact lenses.

Corneal modification is also a treatment option for some patients.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Nearsightedness, or myopia, as it is medically termed, 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 not focused correctly.

Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition that affects nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Some evidence supports the theory that nearsightedness is hereditary. There is also growing evidence that nearsightedness may be caused by the stress of too much close vision work. It normally first occurs in school age children. Since the eye continues to grow during childhood, nearsightedness generally develops before age 20.

A sign of nearsightedness is difficulty seeing distant objects like a movie or TV screen or chalkboard. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for nearsightedness. Your optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to optically correct nearsightedness by altering the way the light images enter your eyes. You may only need to wear them for certain activities, like watching TV or a movie or driving a car, or they may need to be worn for all activities.

Refractive surgery or laser procedures are also possible treatments for nearsightedness as is orthokeratology. Orthokeratology is a non-invasive procedure that involves the wearing of a series of specially-designed rigid contact lenses to progressively reshape the curvature of the cornea over time.

Hyperopia

Farsightedness, or hyperopia, as it is medically termed, 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 not focused correctly.

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, aching or burning eyes, irritability or nervousness after sustained concentration.

Common vision screenings, often done in schools, are generally ineffective in detecting farsightedness. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for farsightedness.

In mild cases of farsightedness, your eyes may be able to compensate without corrective lenses. In other cases, your optometrist can prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to optically correct farsightedness by altering the way the light enters your eyes.

Presbyopia

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 may seem to occur suddenly, but the actual loss of flexibility takes place over a number of years. Presbyopia usually becomes noticeable in the early to mid-forties. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease and it cannot be prevented.

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 comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia.

To help you compensate for presbyopia, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals or contact lenses. Since presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, your optometrist will determine the specific lenses to allow you to see clearly and comfortably. You may only need to wear your glasses for close work like reading, but you may find that wearing them all the time is more convenient and beneficial for your vision needs.

Since the effects of presbyopia continue to change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly, periodic changes in your eyewear may be necessary to maintain clear and comfortable vision.

Color Vision Deficiency

Color vision deficiency means that your ability to distinguish some colors and shades is less than normal. It occurs when some of the color-sensitive cone cells in the retinas of your eyes do not work properly, causing inaccurate color information to be sent to the brain. About eight percent of men and one percent of women are color deficient.

Red-green deficiency (deuteranopia) is by far the most common form of color defect and it results in the inability to identify certain shades of red and green. To many people with a red-green color defect, certain shades of red and green may appear as similar shades of grey. Those with a less common type have difficulty distinguishing blue and yellow. In very rare cases, color deficiency exists to an extent that no colors can be detected, only shades of black, white and grey.

Since many learning materials are color-coded, it is important to diagnose color vision deficiency early in life. Color vision testing is simple and painless, and usually involves identifying characters of different colors in a specially printed book, or putting a series of colored caps in the proper sequence. The American Optometric Association recommends a comprehensive optometric examination before a child begins school, so this problem can be detected and parents and teachers alerted.

Color vision deficiency is usually inherited and cannot be cured, but those affected can often be taught to adapt to the inability to distinguish colors. In some cases, a special red-tinted contact lens may be worn in one eye to help people with some kinds of color deficiencies telll the difference between certain colors. In some cases, developing a color vision defect where there was none before can be a symptom of certain types of eye or neurological disease. Consult your optometrist for more information and testing for color vision problems.

Connecticut Association of Optometrists
35 Cold Spring Road, Suite 211
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
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Phone (860) 529.1900
Fax (860) 529.4411
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