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Common eye problems

There are several common eye problems including:

Amblyopia (lazy eye). In an infant or a child, the brain will not tolerate double images and will shutdown the vision in the weaker eye. This involuntary loss of vision is called "lazy eye" or amblyopia. Here's another way to say it: Amblyopia is a healthy eye that does not see. Only infants and children develop amblyopia; and the vision loss can be reversed with therapy if the contributing eye problem is corrected during childhood.

Amblyopia is a serious problem for your children. So long as the underlying eye problem remains untreated, the vision in the weaker eye does not develop fully. Lazy eye can also result from other eye problems, such as ptosis (drooping of the eyelid) or a significant refractive error in one eye. If detected early amblyopia can be corrected with patching and/or eye drops applied to the better eye - forcing the weaker eye to recover useful function.

Presbyopia. This is the loss of the ability to see close objects or small print clearly. It is a normal process that happens slowly over a lifetime, but you may not notice any change until after age 40. Presbyopia is often corrected with reading glasses. Bifocal glasses permit the wearer to see objects clearly, both near and distant.

Floaters. These are tiny spots or specks that float across the field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters are often considered normal, but can sometimes indicate a more serious eye problem. These include conditions such as a retinal detachment, especially if floaters are accompanied by light flashes, or any reduction in your field of vision, like a curtain falling over the eye. If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes you see, seek medical advice as soon as possible

Dry eyes. This happens when tear glands cannot make enough tears or produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning or, rarely, some loss of vision. Your doctor or eye specialist may suggest using a humidifier in your home, special eye drops that simulate real tears, or plugs that are placed in tear ducts to decrease tear drainage. Surgery may be needed in more serious cases of dry eyes.

Tearing. Having too many tears can come from being sensitive to light, wind or temperature changes. Protecting your eyes by shielding them or wearing sunglasses can sometimes solve the problem. Tearing may also mean that you have a more serious problem, such as an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. Your doctor or eye specialist can offer advice about treatment for these conditions.

Cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop within the eye lens. Since the lens in a healthy eye is clear like a camera lens, light has no problem passing through the lens to the back of the eye to the retina where images are processed. When a cataract is present, the light cannot get through the lens as easily and, as a result, vision can be impaired. Cataracts often form slowly, causing no pain, redness or tearing in the eye. Some stay small and do not alter eyesight. If they become large or thick and affect vision, cataracts can usually be treated with surgery to replace the lens.

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