Finding A Better Pair of Contact Lenses

A Brief Glossary Of Problems Your Eye Exam Will Check For

by Luukas Harju

Your optometrist checks your eyes for many problems — both vision difficulties and physical ailments — during an eye exam. To help you become a more active participant in your own eye health, here's a glossary of a few things he or she will look for. 

Amblyopia. Amblyopia is more commonly called lazy eye, and it appears when one eye doesn't focus clearly along with the other eye. Amblyopia can be easy to see or more subtle, and it tends to appear in children but can also occur in adulthood as a result of long-term lack of vision correction. 

Astigmatism. If your vision is blurry or causes eye strain, you may be suffering from this problem. An astigmatism is an inability to focus light evenly across the cornea due to an irregular curvature in the cornea. It is fixed with corrective lenses. 

Cataract. More commonly found in older persons, cataracts are clouded portions of the eye's lens that obstruct vision. When cataracts become large and opaque enough, they are generally repaired by surgery. 

Conjunctivitis. Called 'pink eye', this is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the white of the eye). It can be bacterial or viral, and common treatments range from allowing it to go away on its own to taking eye drops prescribed by your doctor. 

Floaters. Do you see spots in your vision that seem to float in your view? These clumps of gel form in the vitreous fluid inside your eye and are generally not harmful. They may break up on their own, but if you experience a large growth in floaters, see your doctor. 

Glaucoma. This group of serious eye problems affects the optic nerve, and it often involves changes in eye pressure that affect this bundle of nerves. You probably cannot detect glaucoma yourself, so your doctor will do a regular checkup for it. Treatment ranges from eye drops to eye surgery. 

Hyperopia and Myopia. More commonly referred to as farsightedness and nearsightedness, this is the most common vision problem most people experience. They are generally treated with corrective lenses to help your eye focus in the right place on the eye. 

Macular Degeneration. The macula helps your eye focus sharply on objects in the center of your field of vision. Degeneration in this macula blocks your vision straight ahead wherever you look. Age-related macular degeneration is a serious problem for older clients, and your doctor should keep a sharp eye for its signs. 

Strabismus. Often mistaken for amblyopia, strabismus is referred to as crossed eyes. It tends to be a problem with the muscles of the eye and may be treated with corrective lenses or vision therapy. 

Regular eye exams help catch and prevent a host of problems that could damage your vision and your eye itself. By understanding more about what to look for and how problems are treated, you can help your doctor help you keep your eyes in good shape for a long time.