Blindness is the state of being sightless. Causes of blindness include macular degeneration, stroke, cataract, glaucoma, infection and trauma. Symptoms and signs may include eye pain, eye discharge, or the cornea or pupil turning white. Treatment of blindness depends upon the cause of the blindness. Read more: Blindness Article
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Stroke Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery
What is a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, vision problems, or problems with...
Cataracts Causes, Symptoms, Vision Tests, and Surgery
Cataracts are a painless clouding of the internal lens of the eye. Learn about symptoms (blurry vision, glare and poor night...
Picture of Color Blindness
When we see different colors, we are perceiving differences in the light that is reaching our eyes. See a picture of Color...
Picture of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes, affects the blood vessels in the retina (the thin light-sensitive...
Picture of Cataracts
Cataract is a painless condition where the normally clear aspirin-sized lens of the eye starts to become cloudy. See a picture of...
Picture of Glaucoma
Glaucoma (the sneak thief of sight) refers to certain eye diseases that affect the optic nerve and cause vision loss. See a...
Picture of Eye Anatomy Detail
The eye has a number of components which include but are not limited to the cornea, iris, pupil, lens, retina, macula, optic...
Picture of Eye
The eye has a number of components which include but are not limited to the cornea, iris, pupil, lens, retina, macula, optic...
Related Disease Conditions
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Internal bleeding occurs when an artery or vein is damaged and blood to escapes the circulatory system and collects inside the body. Internal bleeding can be caused by a variety of situations such as blunt trauma, deceleration trauma, medications, fractures, and spontaneous bleeding. Treatment of internal bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Leprosy (Hansen's disease) is a disfiguring disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. The disease is spread from person to person through nasal secretions or droplets. Symptoms and signs of leprosy include numbness, loss of temperature sensation, painless ulcers, eye damage, loss of digits, and facial disfigurement. Leprosy is treated with antibiotics and the dosage and length of time of administration depends upon which form of leprosy the patient has.
A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea. Infection is a common cause of corneal ulcer. Symptoms and signs of corneal ulcer include redness, eye pain and discharge, blurred vision, photophobia, and a gray or white spot on the cornea. Treatment depends upon the cause of the corneal ulcer.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in which the fluid pressure inside the eye rises because of slowed fluid drainage from the eye. If untreated, glaucoma may damage the optic nerve and other parts of the eye, causing the loss of vision or even blindness.
Scleritis is inflammation of the white part of the eye. It may be caused by a serious underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disease. Symptoms include redness, pain, tearing, sensitivity to light, and decreased visual acuity. Treatment may include eyedrops as well as treatment for any underlying disease process. Scleritis cannot be prevented.
Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Treatment focuses on symptom relief. The disease can be prevented with the measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine (MMRV).
Mucormycosis (zygomycosis) is a fungal infection caused by Zygomycetes. Symptoms and signs include fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, bloody vomit, and possible altered mental status. Treatment usually involves debridement of infected tissue and antifungal drugs.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that gradually destroys the central vision. In people over 60, AMD is a leading cause of vision loss. Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula, leaking blood and fluid and causing rapid vision loss. In dry AMD, light-sensitive cells slowly break down in the macula, resulting in gradual vision loss. Pain is not associated with either form of AMD.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints that causes pain and stiffness in the arms, neck, shoulders, and buttocks. Treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica aims to reduce inflammation with aspirin, ibuprofen, and low doses of cortisone medications.
A cataract is an eye disease that causes the eye's lens to become cloudy and opaque with decreased vision. Causes of cataracts include diabetes, hypothyroidism, certain genetic illnesses, hyperparathyroidism, atopic dermatitis, and certain medications. Cataract symptoms and signs include a decrease in vision and a whitish color to the affected eye. Treatment for cataracts may involve cataract surgery.
Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, the structure that connects the eye to the brain. The precise cause of optic neuritis is unknown, but it is thought to be a type of autoimmune disorder. Optic neuritis most commonly develops due to an autoimmune disorder that may be triggered by a viral infection.
Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Symptoms and signs include redness and irritation of the eyes with tearing. Trachoma is diagnosed by examining the eyes and eyelids. Treatment involves a single dose of azithromycin (Zithromax) or the use of topical tetracycline (Achromycin) ointment. Infected individuals should be counseled about sanitation and taught simple cleanliness.
Smallpox is a disease caused by the variola virus. Symptoms and signs include: a characteristic rash and high fever. Treatment focuses on supporting the patient. Smallpox may be prevented with the ACAM2000 smallpox vaccine.
Eye Problems and Diabetes
Diabetes and eye problems are generally caused by high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time. Types of eye problems in a person with diabetes include glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Examples of symptoms include blurred vision, headaches, eye aches, pain, halos around lights, loss of vision, watering eyes. Treatment for eye problems in people with diabetes depend on the type of eye problem. Prevention of eye problems include reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, quitting smoking, and maintaining proper blood glucose levels.
Paget's disease is a chronic bone disorder due to irregular breakdown and formation of bone tissue. Symptoms of Paget's disease include bone pain, headaches and hearing loss, pressure on nerves, increased head size, hip pain, and damage to cartilage of joints.
Herpes of the eye occurs due to herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1). Symptoms of herpes of the eye include pain in and around the eye, rash or sores on the eyelids, redness, swelling, and cloudiness of the cornea.
Onchocerciasis, or river blindness, is a parasitic disease that may cause blindness. It is transmitted by the bite of a female blackfly. Symptoms include skin depigmentation, vision loss, and itch. Ivermectin is used to treat the disease.
Treacher Collins Syndrome
Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) is a rare genetic condition that affects the development of the bones and tissues of the face. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and include: Malformations of the eyes Anomalies of the structures of the external and middle ear Feeding or swallowing difficulties. Treatment of symptoms requires a multidisciplinary approach. Sometimes surgery may help relieve a patient's symptoms.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic condition that causes retinal degeneration and eventual vision loss. Symptoms include night blindness and tunnel vision. Visual field testing and electrophysiological testing are essential in diagnosing RP. Though there is no cure for RP, vitamin A therapy and an omega-3-rich diet may be recommended for patients to slow disease progression.
Eye Care and Eye Disorder
Many common eye disorders resolve without treatment and some may be managed with over-the-counter (OTC) products. It's important to visit a physician or ophthalmologist is the problem involves the eyeball itself or the condition hasn't improved after 72 hours of use of an eye-care OTC product.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a tick-borne disease that causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash, headache, and muscle aches. The antibiotic doxycycline is the standard treatment for Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Eyeglasses, Sunglasses, and Magnifying Glasses
Nonprescription eyeglasses are available over the counter (OTC) and are typically used by people who can no longer read fine print. OTC trifocals are helpful for those who require multiple distances or focal lengths for near and intermediate tasks. OTC sunglasses should offer 100% protection from the sun's UVA and UVB rays. OTC magnifying glasses are useful for viewing tiny objects or fine print.
Coats disease is a rare eye condition that typically progresses to vision loss or blindness in one eye. Gradual vision loss is usually the first symptom, followed by a cloudy white or yellow pupil due to the presence of a cataract. Treatment focuses on limiting the blood vessel progression and may involve cryotherapy or laser photocoagulation. Read about symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis.
Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA or Temporal Arteritis)
Giant cell arteritis, inflammation of blood vessel walls, affects 10%-15% of polymyalgia rheumatica patients. Symptoms of giant cell arteritis include fatigue, weight loss, low-grade fever, jaw pain when chewing, scalp tenderness, and headaches. High doses of cortisone medications are used to treat giant cell arteritis.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. CJD generally appears in the later years and runs a rapid course. Symptoms of CJD include failing memory, lack of coordination, visual disturbances, failing memory, blindness, weakness, and eventually coma. There are three major categories of CJD; 1) sporadic CJD, 2) hereditary CJD, and 3) acquired CJD. There is no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (Abusive Head Trauma)
Shaken baby syndrome, or abusive head trauma, is the condition that describes the symptoms and signs that result from the violent shaking of an infant. These symptoms and signs include: bruising, vomiting, poor feeding, seizures, head trauma, and hemorrhages of the retina. Shaken baby sundrome treatment involves removing the infant from the household where the abuse occurred and providing supportive care for the child's injuries.
Contact Lenses: Colored, Soft, Hard, Toric and Bifocal
Contact lenses fit over the cornea and correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Contact lenses may be hard or soft. Bifocal contact lenses may be worn by those who have presbyopia. Toric contact lenses are for people who have astigmatism.
Acanthamoeba infection of the eye can cause Acanthamoeba keratitis, a serious infection that may result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Signs and symptoms include a sensation of something in the eye, pain, redness, light sensitivity, and tearing. Prescription medications treat this infection.
Canavan disease is an inherited genetic disorder that typically causes death before 10 years of age. Signs and symptoms of the disease include developmental delays, loss of muscle tone, enlargement of the head, and severe feeding problems. The disease is most prevalent in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. There is no treatment for the disease.
Neuromyelitis optica (Devic's syndrome) is a disease of the CNS that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. People with neuromyelitis optica develop optic neuritis and transverse myelitis. There is no cure for neuromyelitis optica; however, there are therapies to treat attacks when they occur.
Color blindness is a condition where a person does not see colors in the usual way. Color blindness is a genetic condition that affects 1 out of every 10 men to some degree. Colorblindness rarely occurs in women. The condition cannot be treated or corrected.
Alport syndrome is a genetic condition that causes kidney disease, hearing loss, and vision loss in affected individuals. Mutations in one of three genes that code for a protein called type IV collagen cause Alport syndrome.
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