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Common Eye Conditions


Rare, inherited vision disorder in which a person has little or no ability to see colour. People with Achromatopsia also commonly experience some vision loss, especially in bright light, to which they are extremely sensitive. The severity varies. Although there is no cure or treatment for this disorder, people with Achromatopsia can manage its symptoms. For example, they can wear sunglasses or tinted contact lenses to cope with bright light.


A hereditary condition characterised by a variable lack of pigment in the eyes, skin, or hair. People with Albinism may have pale pink skin and blonde to white hair, but there are different types of Albinism, and the amount of pigment varies. The irises of their eyes may be white or pinkish. They are sensitive to bright light and glare and commonly have other vision problems. While some people with Albinism can see well enough to drive, many have impaired vision or may even be legally blind. Bifocals, magnifiers, tinted lenses and other optical devices can help people with Albinism.


A condition in which a person’s vision does not develop properly in early childhood because the eye and the brain are not working together correctly. Amblyopia, which usually affects only one eye, is also known as “lazy eye.” A person with amblyopia experiences blurred vision in the affected eye. Early treatment is advisable, because if left untreated, this condition may lead to permanent vision problems. Treatment options include vision therapy exercises or prescription eyeglasses. People with amblyopia may need to wear an eye patch over their stronger eye in order to force the affected eye to function as it should.

Absence of the lens of the eye, usually associated with the surgical removal of a cataract but may also result from a wound or other cause. Without the lens, the eye cannot adjust its focus for seeing at different distances. Contact lenses or eyeglasses are used to correct the vision. In cataract surgery, an artificial lens is inserted to replace the lens removed. A person with Aphakia will benefit from good, but not excessive, lighting and high-contrast reading materials.

Common condition, usually present from birth, caused by an irregularly curved cornea or lens. People with astigmatism may experience blurred vision, eyestrain, or headaches. Astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Corrective surgery is another option.

Rare, inherited condition that affects the macula, the area in the middle of the retina, and can cause blurred or distorted vision or a loss of central vision. Best’s Disease may affect both eyes. The disease’s effects on sight vary and may not become severe for many years, if ever. Most people are not significantly affected until after age 40. There is no treatment for Best’s Disease.

Birdshot uveitis is a rare, auto-immune, potentially blinding and chronic form of posterior uveitis. Uveitis means inflammation of the uvea, part of the eye that is made up of the iris, choroid of the eye and ciliary body. Symptoms include floaters blurred vision, night blindness, sensitivity to lights and shimmering vision. The disease is called birdshot because the spots resemble the pattern seen when you fire birdshot pellets from a shotgun.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids causing red, sore and itchy eyes. It generally does not cause any damage to eyesight. There are two  types of blepharitis, Anterior (occurs on the outside front edge of the eyelid where the eyelashes are) and Posterior (occurs on the inside edge of the eyelid that touches the eye’s surface).

A condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or opaque. Cataracts generally form slowly and without pain. They can affect one or both eyes. Over time, a cataract may interfere with vision, causing images to appear blurred or fuzzy and colours to seem faded. Most cataracts are related to aging. Cataracts affect more than 50 percent of all adults by age 80 and are the primary cause of vision loss in people 55 and older. People with early cataract may benefit from new eyeglasses, bright lighting, anti-glare sunglasses, or magnifying lenses. Surgery is the only effective treatment, which is common and involves removal of the cloudy lens and replacement with an artificial lens.


Visual disturbances usually occurring in people who have experienced visual impairment or sight loss later in life. People with Charles Bonnet syndrome may see a wide range of images, from simple patterns to people, animals, and buildings. The visual disturbances associated with this syndrome are not signs of mental illness, and people realise that the images they are seeing are not real. There is no cure for Charles Bonnet syndrome. However, the symptoms often stop on their own. Organise a consult with an eye care specialist because treatment for vision disorders may help.
Charles Bonnet syndrome

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Rare disorder that causes progressive loss of the choroid, an important layer under the retina that is responsible for some of its blood supply. Choroideremia is an inherited disorder that generally affects males only. It commonly begins as night blindness in childhood and gradually advances to increasing vision loss. Most people with this disorder are able to retain good vision until age 40 or 50. There is no treatment but people who have the disorder may find it helpful to use optical, electronic, or computer-based devices for low vision.

A very rare congenital causing full or partial blindness, characterised by abnormal development of blood vessels behind the retina.

Symptoms typically begin as blurred vision, usually pronounced when one eye is closed. Flashes of light and floaters are common symptoms. Persistent colour patterns may also be perceived in the affected eye. One early warning sign of Coats’ disease is yellow-eye in flash photography. Just as the red-eye effect is caused by a reflection of blood vessels in the back of a normal eye, an eye affected by Coats’ will glow yellow in photographs as light reflects off cholesterol deposits. Children with yellow-eye in photographs are typically advised to immediately seek evaluation from any optometrist or ophthalmologist. Coats’ disease itself is painless.

A cleft or gap in some part of the eye, such as the iris, lens, or retina, that is caused by a defect in the development of the eyeball. How much Coloboma affects a person’s vision depends on the size and location of the cleft and on whether it occurs in one or both eyes. A person with large defects in the retina and optic nerve may have limited vision. Children whose vision is impaired by Coloboma may benefit from using reading materials that have large black print and well-spaced letters and words.

Colour blindness is an inherited condition which is characterised by an inability to distinguish between certain colours, usually red and green, but some people confuse red and blue, seeing them as various shades of brown or grey. Colour blindness usually affects males and situations in which colours are important may become hazardous. It is not really a form of blindness, but rather a deficiency in colour perception. There is no treatment or cure for colour blindness as it is hereditary.

Colour Blindness

An inherited disease that, over time, causes deterioration of the specialised light-sensitive cells of the retina. People with cone-rod dystrophy typically experience decreased sharpness of vision followed by a loss of peripheral vision and colour perception. The most common form of cone-rod dystrophy is retinitis pigmentosa. There is no treatment or cure for this disease, which is also referred to as cone-rod degeneration, progressive cone-rod dystrophy, and retinal cone dystrophy.

Conjunctivitis is Inflammation of the conjunctiva. Conjunctivitis is a term that covers several different eye diseases. Literally the word means an inflammation of the outer surface of the eye. The inflammation is usually accompanied by pain or an itch, redness of the eye and often a discharge.

The most common form of conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the thin film of tears that covers the eye. The bacteria can sometimes be infectious.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterised by yellow pus that forms in the eyes and may stick the eyelids together during sleep. The eyes are bloodshot and may be a little sore. It almost invariably involves both eyes.

Babies who develop recurrent attacks of bacterial conjunctivitis may be suffering from a blocked tear duct as well. Tears are produced in a small gland beyond the outer edge of the eye. They move across the surface of the eye and through a tiny tube at the inner edge of the eye, ending in the nose. If an infant’s duct is too small, or is blocked by pus, the circulation of tears is prevented and infection results.


A blocked tear duct may be probed and cleared by a doctor if the conjunctivitis persists for several months, but most babies grow out of the problem.

Viral conjunctivitis is the most difficult to treat but some types that infect the eye surface can be controlled by anti-viral drops.

The effects of corneal disease vary. Some corneal conditions cause few, if any, vision problems. For example, infections of the cornea can often be treated with antibiotics. However, if the cornea becomes cloudy, light cannot penetrate the eye to reach the retina, and severe visual impairment, or even blindness, may result. Corneal dystrophies are usually inherited conditions in which one or more parts of the cornea lose their clarity due to a build-up of cloudy material. When corneal disease causes the cornea to become permanently clouded or scarred, doctors may be able to restore vision with a corneal transplant—surgical replacement of the old cornea with a new one.

Visual impairment caused by damage to those parts of the brain related to vision. The eye is normal but the brain cannot properly process the information it receives. The degree of vision loss may be mild or severe and can vary greatly, even from day to day. Cortical visual impairment can be temporary or permanent. People with cortical visual impairment have difficulty using what their eye sees. For example, they may have trouble recognizing faces, interpreting drawings, perceiving depth, or distinguishing between background and foreground. Children with cortical visual impairment are often able to see better when told in advance what to look for.

A rare disorder, present at birth, in which the optic nerve is underdeveloped, the pituitary gland does not function properly, and often a portion of brain tissue is not formed. DeMorsier’s Syndrome may cause blindness in one or both eyes and is also often accompanied by nystagmus and various other symptoms. Some children with DeMorsier’s Syndrome have normal intelligence, while others may be developmentally delayed, learning-disabled, or mentally retarded. Some symptoms of this disorder can be treated, but the visual impairment usually cannot be corrected. Visual devices, such as a magnifier or a computer designed for vision impaired users, may benefit some people.

In Australia, nearly one third of diabetics suffer from damaged vision in which the focusing ability of the eye is weakened or fluctuates. The longer someone has had diabetes, the greater the persons chance of the disease. Changes in the eye may occur in the retina, blood vessels in the eye may leak causing blurred vision or even turn images to red. Laser surgery can treat diabetic retinopathy to stop it from spreading.

Dry eye syndrome occurs when there aren’t enough tears on the front of the eyes. Symptoms include itching, irritation and grittiness. People with dry eyes find it difficult to wear contact lenses. There is no cure, but the symptoms can be minimised. Ageing, menopause, medical conditions such as arthritis, some medications and climactic conditions can cause dry eye syndrome.

Specks or strands that seem to float across the field of vision. Floaters and spots are actually shadows on the retina cast by tiny bits of gel or cells inside the clear fluid that fills the eye. Floaters and spots usually are normal and harmless. However, in some cases they may warn of serious conditions such as retinal detachmentdiabetic retinopathy, or infection. Someone who experiences a sudden decline in vision accompanied by flashes and floaters or a sudden increase in the number of floaters should consult an ophthalmologist urgently.

Fuchs’ dystrophy is an uncommon, slowly progressive disorder that affects the cornea.Fuchs’ dystrophy is a type of corneal dystrophy, a group of conditions that may cause a hazy deposit to build up over the cornea.

Normally, the cells that line the back surface of the cornea prevent excess fluid from accumulating. This helps the cornea maintain its transparency. But with Fuchs’ dystrophy, those endothelial cells slowly deteriorate, lose function and die. Resulting in a fluid build up in the cornea. This may cause swelling, cloudy vision, pain and loss of corneal transparency.

Stargardt disease or fundus Flavimaculatus is a progressive form of juvenile macular degeneration with considerable clinical and genetic heterogeneity.  It may be considered a syndromal cone-rod dystrophy because of overlapping clinical features such as loss of colour vision and photophobia in some patients. 

There is no treatment for this disorder but low vision aids can be helpful especially in the early stages of the disease.


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Blindness affecting half of the field of vision. Hemianopia usually results from a stroke or brain injury. It may affect either the right or left side of the visual field and is usually permanent. Hemianopia can produce various effects, from minor to severe. For example, a person may be able to see only to one side when looking ahead, or objects that the person sees may differ in clarity or brightness. There is no specific treatment for hemianopia. In addition, some people with hemianopia benefit from the use of magnifiers or special prism lenses.


© Lighthouse Guild

A common vision problem, also known as farsightedness, occurs when light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, not directly on it. People with hyperopia are usually able to see distant objects well, but close objects appear blurry. May cause eyestrain or headaches, especially with reading. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct hyperopia. Laser vision correction is sometimes possible.

Rare condition, often inherited, in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner and gradually bulges outward, causing blurred or distorted vision. Usually affects both eyes. Most people with Keratoconus will not experience severe visual impairment. However, as many as one in five will eventually require a corneal transplant (surgical replacement of the old cornea with a new one).

Rare, inherited disorder affecting many parts of the body. People with this condition have retinitis pigmentosa accompanied by mental retardation, paralysis of the legs, and various other symptoms.

Inherited condition, probably caused by degeneration of the retina, in which an infant is born blind or develops severe vision loss soon after birth. Children with Leber’s congenital amaurosis typically also have nystagmus, and some also have mental retardation and hearing disorders. At present, there is no treatment for this condition.

The macular is the small central area of the retina, responsible for fine detail vision and colour differentiation. The condition is commonly known as age related macular degeneration (AMD) and is the leading cause of vision impairment among older people. Deterioration of this area, known as macular degeneration, may occur very suddenly, resulting in impaired central vision and can lead to complete loss of vision. There is no cure, but drug therapy, laser surgery or other medical treatment may be able to slow the progression or prevent further vision loss.  Reading lenses and magnifying devices can compensate for loss of detailed vision.


© Lighthouse Guild

A full thickness hole in the central part of the retina called the macula. It may be caused by injury or inflammatory swelling of the retina, but most commonly occurs as an age-related event without any predisposing conditions. Macular holes are thought to be caused by tractional forces associated with the vitreous gel separating from the retina in the macula and around the central macula called the fovea. Surgery is the treatment of choice.

Disorder of the connective tissue, affecting the heart and blood vessels, skeletal system, eyes, and other parts of the body. The condition is present at birth. Symptoms vary, ranging from mild to severe. People with Marfan syndrome are often nearsighted and about half have dislocation of one or both lenses of the eye. There is no cure. Treatment depends on which body systems are affected. Early eye examinations can detect vision problems related to the disorder, which can usually be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or eye surgery.

A rare disorder, usually inherited, in which one or both eyes are abnormally small. The degree of visual impairment varies, from reduced vision to blindness. Extreme microphthalmia resembles some forms of anopthalmia. There is no treatment or cure for micropthalmia. In certain cases, artificial eyes can be used to promote proper growth of the eye sockets and to help with cosmetic appearance.

Hyperopia or farsightedness is a common eye deficiency which inhibits the ability of the eye to focus on close objects. This is due to the eyeball being shorter than normal, causing light rays to focus after they reach the retina and blurring images close to the eye. Glasses with convex lenses are required.

Alternatively, if the eyeball is too long, the lens brings light into focus before it reaches the retina, blurring images in the distance. This condition is known as myopia or near sightedness and requires glasses with concave lenses.

Involves involuntary, rapid, repetitive movements of one or both eyes from side to side, up and down, or in a circular motion. It may be present at birth or, less commonly, may result from disease or injury. In some cases, it can reduce or interfere with vision. For example, children with nystagmus may frequently lose their place when reading. Placing a cut out reading window over words or using a card to “underline” text can be helpful.

Degeneration of the optic nerve, which carries vision information from the eye to the brain. May cause dimmed or blurred vision, a reduced field of vision and difficulty seeing contrast and fine detail. Vision loss through optic nerve atrophy is permanent. However, if the underlying cause can be identified and successfully treated, further vision loss may be prevented. Bright lighting, high contrast, and bold colours can help to see more clearly.

Condition, present at birth, in which the optic nerve is underdeveloped, so that adequate visual information is not carried from the eye to the brain. Effects vary from little or no visual impairment to near-total blindness. The condition may affect one or both eyes. There is no treatment or cure for optic nerve hypoplasia. A person may benefit from the use of devices for low vision.

The eye’s gradually decreasing ability to focus on nearby objects. Presbyopia is a normal part of aging and affects virtually everyone, usually becoming noticeable after age 40. People with presbyopia typically hold reading materials at arm’s length in order to bring the words into focus. They may experience headaches or eyestrain while reading, viewing a computer screen, or doing close work. Presbyopia can be corrected with reading glasses, bifocal or variable focus lenses, or contact lenses. Using bright, direct light when reading is also helpful.

Separation of the retina from the underlying supportive tissues. Retinal detachment may result from injury, disease, or other causes. A person with retinal detachment usually does not experience pain, but may see floaters or bright flashes of light, may have blurred vision, or may see a shadow or curtain over part of the field of vision. Prompt medical attention is required to prevent permanent vision loss. There are several methods of treatment for retinal detachment, including laser surgery.

Degeneration of the retina, resulting in decreased night vision, a gradual loss of peripheral vision, and in some cases, loss of central vision. Degeneration progresses over time and can lead to blindness. It is a rare, inherited disease for which there is as yet no treatment or cure. Some ophthalmologists believe that treatment with high doses of Vitamin A can slow the progression of retinitis pigmentosa, and that taking Vitamin E makes it worse. Early diagnosis enables a person with the disease to plan and prepare for its progression. Depending on the degree of vision loss, electronic magnifiers, night-vision scopes, and other such special devices for impaired vision can provide some benefit.


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Malignant tumour (cancer) of the retina, generally affecting children under the age of 6. Usually hereditary, retinoblastoma may affect one or both eyes. Retinoblastoma has a cure rate of over 90 percent if treated early. Without prompt treatment, the cancer can spread to the eye socket, the brain, and elsewhere, and can cause death. Depending on the size and location of the tumour, treatment options include laser surgery, cryotherapy (a freezing treatment), radiation, and chemotherapy. In some cases, the affected eye may need to be removed.

Condition associated with premature birth, where the growth of normal blood vessels in the retina stops, and abnormal blood vessels develop. As a result, the infant has an increased risk of detachment of the retina Retinopathy of prematurity can lead to reduced vision or blindness. Laser therapy can help if diagnosis and treatment occur early. Children who experience minor effects may benefit from the use of devices for low vision as they get older.

A gap or blind spot in the field of vision that may result from damage to the retina. How much a scotoma impairs sight depends mainly on whether it affects central or peripheral vision. Common causes of scotoma include macular degenerationglaucoma, and inflammation of the optic nerve. People may benefit from the use of magnifiers, bright lighting, and large-print reading materials.

Inherited disease that causes gradual degeneration of the macula, the area in the middle of the retina that makes possible the central vision needed for reading, driving, recognizing colours, and other activities of daily life. Effects start at an early age, varying from minor to total loss of detail vision. Over a period of years, people with the disease typically lose sharpness of vision, experience decreased colour vision, and may have blind spots. However, peripheral and night vision usually remains unaffected, and complete loss of sight is rare. There is no cure or treatment, but such devices as magnifying screens and binocular lenses can help people cope.

The eyes are not both directed toward the same point simultaneously when the eye muscles are not working together properly. It is most commonly an inherited condition, but may also be caused by disease or injury., strabismus Can usually be corrected if diagnosed early. The condition may be treated with corrective eyeglasses, eye-muscle exercises, surgery, or a combination of these approaches. Young children with this condition may need to wear an eye patch over their stronger eye to force their weaker eye to function correctly. Children whose strabismus is not corrected may develop amblyopia.

A disorder present at birth, characterised by a facial birthmark and any of various neurological, visual, and developmental symptoms. People with Sturge-Weber syndrome may, for example, experience seizures, glaucoma, partial paralysis, and learning disabilities. There is no cure for Sturge-Weber syndrome, but many of the symptoms can be treated. Medications may be prescribed to control seizures, and surgery or eye drops may be used to treat glaucoma.

A contagious eye infection caused by bacteria that affects the eyelid and cornea. It can lead to scarring and blindness if not treated. The infection is spread by contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of infected persons and also transmitted by certain flies. It affects millions of people around the world. Antibiotics are generally effective especially if used early in the infection. In certain cases, eyelid surgery may be needed.

Inherited condition that causes partial or total hearing loss accompanied by gradual vision loss resulting from retinitis pigmentosa. Sometimes also having problems with balance. There is no cure for the condition. However, early diagnosis makes it possible to help people with Usher Syndrome by providing hearing aids, training in sign language and lip reading, devices for impaired vision.

Inflammation inside the eye, affecting the structures that provide most of the blood supply to the retina, and may affect one or both eyes. The condition may be associated with an underlying disease or have other causes, but in many cases it affects people who are otherwise healthy. People typically experience redness of the eye, blurred vision, and light sensitivity. They may also feel pain and see floaters. If not properly treated, uveitis can lead to scarring and vision loss. Treatment depends on which eye structures are affected and whether there is an underlying disease. Eye drops and other medications are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation.

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