Have you been noticing any changes in your vision? If you have, now would be a great time to schedule an eye exam with the Houston eye doctors at Berkeley Eye Center.
A comprehensive eye exam will allow our highly trained ophthalmologists and optometrists to diagnose and treat any vision problems you may be experiencing. The good news is many common vision problems can be corrected through prescription glasses or contact lenses, medication or with laser correction surgery.
Conditions Usually Treatable with Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses
Here are some of the most common vision problems our patients experience that are usually treatable with prescription lenses. These are referred to as “refractive errors” because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light.
Are you able to read and use your computer without difficulty but have problems seeing road signs and other distant objects clearly? You could have a common eye condition known as myopia, or “nearsightedness.” Symptoms can include squinting, eye strain and headaches. If you experience these symptoms while wearing your glasses or contact lenses, it’s time for an eye exam to see if you need a stronger prescription.
Also known as “farsightedness.” This is the opposite of myopia — distant objects can be seen clearly but close ones don’t come into proper focus. Symptoms of hyperopia include difficulty performing close tasks like reading, eyestrain, squinting and headaches.
As you get older, are you having to hold reading materials farther away in order to see them clearly? Presbyopia is an age-related form of farsightedness caused by a loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye; it typically occurs in patients over the age of 40.
Blurry vision caused by a defect in the shape or curvature of the eye or lens. Astigmatism affects the way the eye processes light. Your eye should be perfectly round like a bowling ball — smooth and curved equally in all directions to help focus the light rays sharply onto your retina. When your eye becomes less than perfectly round, the light isn’t focused properly, resulting in blurry vision.
Conditions That May Require Treatment Beyond Prescription Lenses
There are certain eye conditions that may require other treatments besides prescription lenses, such as surgery, medication and special therapies such as “patching.” Many are hereditary conditions that affect mostly young children; others can be symptoms of more serious medical problems such as diabetes or migraines.
Also known as “lazy eye,” amblyopia occurs when vision is reduced in one of the eyes because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eyes of a patient with amblyopia appear normal; the problem is they are not being used normally because the brain is favoring one eye due to poor vision in the other one.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual impairment among children, affecting approximately 2 to 3 out of every 100 children. Treatments can include “patching” — a patch is worn over the stronger eye for weeks to months to develop the weaker eye — and the drug atropine.
Another condition that mainly affects children, strabismus is also known as being “cross-eyed.” The main symptom of Strabismus is that the eyes are not aligned properly, causing them to point in different directions at the same time, often sending two images to the brain. Strabismus can cause double vision, suppression (where the brain shuts down, or “suppresses,” sensory input from one eye) or fusion (the brain fuses the two different images into one). Special bifocal glasses are usually prescribed to deal with the problem; in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Nyctalopia, or “night blindness,” is a condition that makes it hard to see at night or in dim light. Night blindness occurs when the rod cells in the retina gradually lose their ability to respond to light. Nyctalopia isn’t a disorder but the symptom of one or more other vision problems, such as nearsightedness, glaucoma or cataracts. Treatment options include special prescription glasses, medication or surgery.
This condition is commonly referred to as being “color blind.” People who are color blind aren’t aware of the differences between colors that are easily discernable to people with normal color vision. Many of them aren’t even aware they have a problem!
Color blindness results from photo-pigment defects in the eyes’ three different kinds of cones that respond to blue, green and red light wavelengths. Red-green color blindness is the most common, followed by blue-yellow color blindness. (Total color blindness — only being able to see black, white and gray — is rare.)
Photophobia is not a psychological fear of light but rather a condition in which there is discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure. Like night blindness, photophobia is not a condition itself, but rather a symptom of a number of conditions that affect the eye. Treatment options depend on diagnosing the underlying cause of a patient’s sensitivity to light.
Schedule an Eye Exam with Your Houston Eye Doctor
Most eye problems can be corrected if caught early. If you or a member of your family are experiencing any vision problems, schedule an appointment to have your eyes examined by a highly trained and experienced Houston eye specialists at Berkeley Eye Center. Houstonians have been trusting us with their eye health for 60 years. With locations all over Houston, there’s a Berkeley Eye Center conveniently located near you.