Vision problems

Vision impairment; Impaired vision; Blurred vision

There are many types of eye problems and vision disturbances, such as:

  • Halos
  • Blurred vision (the loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see fine details)
  • Blind spots or scotomas (dark "holes" in the vision in which nothing can be seen)

Vision loss and blindness are the most severe vision problems.

Crossed eyes

People are very sensitive to other individuals' eye positions. By looking at another person's eye position, one can very effectively gauge where they are looking. People are also sensitive to eyes that are not looking in the same direction, which is referred to as crossed eyes (strabismus). Other more specific medical terms refer to eyes turned either outward or inward, or that are abnormally rotated. Any appearance of crossed eyes in young children should be immediately evaluated, as should recent onset of crossed eyes in an adult.

Eye

The eye is the organ of sight, a nearly spherical hollow globe filled with fluids (humors). The outer layer or tunic (sclera, or white, and cornea) is fibrous and protective. The middle layer (choroid, ciliary body and the iris) is vascular. The innermost layer (the retina) is nervous or sensory. The fluids in the eye are divided by the lens into the vitreous humor (behind the lens) and the aqueous humor (in front of the lens). The lens itself is flexible and suspended by ligaments which allow it to change shape to focus light on the retina, which is composed of sensory neurons.

Visual acuity test

Visual acuity tests may be performed in many different ways. It is a quick way to detect vision problems and is frequently used in schools or for mass screening. Driver license bureaus often use a small device that can test the eyes both together and individually.

Slit-lamp exam

A slit-lamp, which is a specialized magnifying microscope, is used to examine the structures of the eye (including the cornea, iris, vitreous, and retina). The slit-lamp is used to examine, treat (with a laser), and photograph (with a camera) the eye.

Visual field test

Central and peripheral vision is tested by using visual field tests. Changes may indicate eye diseases, such as glaucoma or retinitis.

Cataract - close-up of the eye

This photograph shows a cloudy white lens (cataract) as seen through the pupil. Cataracts are a leading cause of decreased vision in older adults, but children may have congenital cataracts. With surgery, the cataract can be removed, a new lens implanted, and the person can usually return home the same day.

Cataract

A cataract is a cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye. Cataracts usually develop as a person gets older and may run in families. Other environmental factors such as smoking or exposure to toxic substances can also accelerate the development of a cataract. Cataracts can cause visual problems such as difficulty seeing at night, seeing halos around lights, and sensitivity to glare.

Considerations

Causes

Home Care

When to Contact a Medical Professional

What to Expect at Your Office Visit