Types of Eye Diseases
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative condition that affects the central part of the retina, called the macula. When the macula deteriorates, central vision is negatively affected and can become completely obstructed.
AMD is typically related to the natural ageing process and is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 55 in North America.
There are 2 main types of AMD:
- Dry AMD is the milder type. It develops gradually as the central retinal tissues degenerate.
- Wet AMD is more severe than dry AMD. It develops suddenly when abnormal blood vessels leak or bleed into the eye and obstruct vision.
Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the thin, transparent layer covering the whites of the eyes, called the conjunctiva. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva’s blood vessels dilate, causing the red or pink colour associated with conjunctivitis.
There are a few different types of conjunctivitis, and most of them are contagious. Although conjunctivitis is common among children, you could contract it at any age. The best way to avoid infection is to only touch your eyes and face with clean, freshly washed hands.
The different types of conjunctivitis include:
- Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by a bacterial infection transmitted from contaminated makeup, unclean hands, or insects. Bacterial conjunctivitis is incredibly contagious but is generally mild and can be treated with antibiotics.
- Viral conjunctivitis is caused by a virus, like an upper respiratory infection. Viral conjunctivitis is also very contagious and is typically transmitted through the body’s mucous membranes or airborne exposure.
- Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction to various irritants. It can be seasonal or year-round, depending on the allergy and prevalence of the allergen. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.
- Chemical conjunctivitis is caused by exposure to irritants like pollution or chlorine in a swimming pool. This type of conjunctivitis is not contagious.
Flashes & Floaters
Flashes are random flashes of light that occur when the tiny fibres inside the vitreous, or the gel-like fluid inside the eye, rubs and pulls on the retina. The friction causes what you see as flashes of light.
Flashes are typically an indicator of another condition, so if you start to see them, you should visit your optometrist as soon as you can.
Floaters are tiny specks that seem to “float” around your field of vision. They are generally just small clumps of protein that become trapped in the vitreous.
However, if you notice the size or amount of floaters increasing, it may be a sign of eye disease. Please book a comprehensive eye exam if you start to see floaters more often.