There are dozens of ocular disorders; some may just be an infection, while others may be more serious and lead to vision loss or even blindness. Some of the different types of ocular disorders include glaucoma, cataracts, and melanoma, as well as near- and farsightedness. Ocular disorders can strike a person of any age or background.
Glaucoma is one of the most common eye disorders and is the main reason for blindness, particularly in elderly people. Glaucoma actually is a set of ocular diseases that result in nerve damage, and is often related to an increase of fluid pressure in the eye. Eye pressure may damage the optic nerves to a point where blind spots are formed in the field of vision. Once nerves are injured, damage is permanent.
Cataracts are another common ocular disorder. This condition often arises as a person becomes older. When a cataract occurs, a person develops a filmy white coating over the eye. This coating may result in a person having difficulty seeing. Most cataracts may be removed surgically and once the coating is detached, sight typically improves.
Melanoma is a severe eye condition in which malignant cells develop in the uvea. The uvea is made up of the iris, a muscle in the eye called the ciliary body, and the choroid, which is a layer of tissues found in the back of the eye. Melanomas often have no symptoms, and as the tumor becomes bigger, the pupil becomes distorted and a person experiences blurred vision. Often, the cancer may be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. If the tumor grows too large, the cancerous eye may need to be removed.
Each year, one million Americans are diagnosed with an ocular condition called Graves' eye disease, commonly known as thyroid eye disease. This disorder occurs when a person's immune system attacks the muscles and other tissues of the eye. Characteristics of Graves' eye disease include swelling around the eyelid, irritation of the eyes, double vision, aversion to light, and difficulty seeing. Cigarette smokers are more likely to develop this condition, and in most instances, the disorder does not permanently affect vision. Often times, Graves' eye disease can be treated with medication and in some cases, the removal of the thyroid gland.
Other ocular disorders may include diplopia, myopia, and nictalopia. Diplopia is commonly referred to as double vision and may occur due to cataracts. Myopia, or near-sightedness, is when a person's close vision is fine, but he has difficulty seeing things at a distance. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is the opposite condition, where a person has a more difficult time seeing up-close items, than those that are far away. These are common disorders, and can be treated with glasses or corrective lenses. Nictalopia typically is the result of a deficiency of Vitamin A, resulting in night blindness.