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What are the Most Common Eye Disorders?

The human eye is a tremendously complicated biological system in which nerves, muscles and lenses must all work together perfectly. Eye disorders are common, as each element of the human visual process is subject to a set of maladies. Macular degeneration reduces the ability of nerves to process visual signals. Myopia or near-sightedness, hyperopia or far-sightedness, astigmatism and cataracts are common eye disorders that stem from problems with the structure of the eye’s lens and cornea, which is the soft, clear tissue at the front of the eye. Glaucoma arises from problems with the eye’s internal fluid reservoir.

Macular degeneration is a condition that impacts the macula, the highly-sensitive portion of the retina responsible for detailed vision in the center of the field-of-view. It is sometimes simply a result of aging, and this form of the condition may be slowed with supplements, but cannot be stopped. In other cases, macular degeneration may stem from problems with the blood vessels that feed the retina. This variety of macular degeneration can sometimes be treated surgically.

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The lens of the eye is a fragile and complicated system, and minor defects in the structure or positioning of the eye cause some of the most common eye disorders. Myopia and hyperopia are both a result of the eye’s inability to focus properly. Myopia occurs when the eye is formed in such a way that the natural focal point occurs in front of the retina, leading to blurred vision. Hyperopia is the opposite condition, and produces a focal point located to deep in the eye. Astigmatism results when the lens of the eye is imperfectly formed. All three of these conditions can generally be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Cataracts are perhaps the most serious of the eye disorders that stem from problems with the lens of the eye. A cataract forms gradually over time, as the surface of the lens becomes clouded, then opaque, and eventually the eye takes on a murky gray appearance. Cataracts cannot be reliably prevented, and are common among the elderly. They can, however, be treated effectively with surgery to replace the clouded lens with a clear replacement. This replacement lens can even be modified to correct for some other vision problems in the process.

The fluid pressure inside the eye can also be the source of eye disorders. Glaucoma is a serious eye condition, in which this fluid places pressure on the retina, leading to nerve damage. Glaucoma may set in very rapidly, with much accompanying pain but is more commonly a degenerative disease. The greatest prevalence of glaucoma is among the elderly, whose eyes become physically weaker and more susceptible to pressure damage. No permanent cure for glaucoma exists, but medications and some surgical procedures can slow or stop the progress of the condition.

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