Your Complete Eye Health A Twelve Part Series on Eye Health, Eye Care, and Common Eye Diseases Brought to You by: www.IndividualVisionInsurance.org 1) Statistics on the State of Eye Health in America 2) Regular Eye Exams – What are They, and How Much Do They Cost? 3) Why Should You Get Routine Eye Exams? 4) Common Eye Problems 5) Eye Infections – Causes, Cures and Symptoms 6) Eye Strain – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 7) Astigmatism - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 8) Glaucoma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 9) Keratoconus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 10) Presbyopia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 11) Pterygium - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments 12) LASIK Surgery – What is it, and How Much Does LASIK Surgery Cost? Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 1. Statistics on the State of Eye Health in America There is no doubt whatsoever that across the world, vision health is becoming poorer each passing year. This is more so in America: in a country battling an obesity epidemic, how could eye health be any better? Compound our poor health in general with increased use of televisions, computers, and other 'screen based devices', and you can see why our vision health is going southwards. As of now, there are over 2.5 million visually impaired people in the US - that is, those that have very limited vision (if at all). This number does not include 1 million blind. That more than 3/4th or nearly 75% of people between 25-64 require some kind of vision correction equipment (read: glasses, lenses) is a testimonial of the declining state of our nation's vision health. Some even more troubling facts: one in four school going children have undiagnosed vision problems. It is also estimated that vision problems cost the American economy upwards of $50 billion every year. Keeping all these statistics in mind, it seems only natural that most people list vision care plans as their most desired insurance benefits, besides a general health plan. Insurance companies too have risen to meet this demand. Today, getting an individual vision insurance plan is quite affordable, costing only a few dollars each month. Group vision insurance plans Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! tend to be even cheaper, and more and more employers are offering this benefit to their employees. An individual vision insurance plan basically provides cover for most vision related problems. These can range from regular eye exams and doctor visits, to partial payment for corrective glasses and contact lenses. Some policies even provide coverage for surgical procedures such as LASIK. The cost of visiting an eye doctor, or getting a pair of glasses made can be quite high, as anybody with vision problems will testify. A single pair of glasses can run into hundreds of dollars. Taking care of your vision can cost upwards of several thousand dollars, depending on the severity of your vision problems. It makes quite sense then to invest in an individual vision insurance plan that will cover a major chunk of these expenses. In most cases, a vision insurance plan can be added on top of your existing medical plan for only a few dollars more each month. Families can also opt for a group plan that will decrease the monthly cost even further. A vision insurance plan is a great investment for the future, whether you are single or have a family. Vision problems will only compound in the future as eye health only deteriorates with age. A solid individual vision insurance plan will cover most expenses related to keeping your eyes healthy, and some procedures, such as regular eye exams, may also be helpful in detecting symptoms of other serious diseases like diabetes. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 2. Regular Eye Exams – What are They, and How Much Do They Cost? Even if you've never had an eye exam (and if you haven't, you definitely should rush to your nearest ophthalmologist), you probably know some of the procedures - reading a chart of increasingly smaller alphabets kept at a distance, the eye doctor plugging in different powered lenses into a large, menacing looking apparatus. As a child, an eye exam filled me with a particular sense of dread and I don't think I've ever been over that. So what exactly is an eye exam? An eye exam is essentially a series of tests performed by an ophthalmologist, designed to ascertain a patient's ocular health status. These tests may range from determining the strength and health of eye sight (i.e. whether you can see clearly without needing glasses), determining the power of your eyes (if you need glasses), testing for any common eye diseases, and checking for conditions such as color blindness, irregular curvature of the lens, etc. An eye exam should be performed only by a trained ophthalmologist. An optometrist may also conduct an eye exam, but that would be limited to determining the power of your eye. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Regular eye exams are recommended by all doctors as most eye diseases are asymptomatic. Further, many serious illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. may manifest themselves as ocular defects. Regular eye exams, thus, may help in diagnosing other serious diseases early, paving the path for easier treatment. An eye exam typically begins with an examination of the external features of the eyes, such as the eyelids, the cornea, sclera (the white part of the eye), etc. After that, the examination moves into a visual acuity test (i.e. a test of the eye's power and ability to focus on near and far objects - the test you are probably most familiar with). The next test is a Pupil function test to determine the health of the pupil and detect any damage (physical, neurological etc.). After this, an eye exam may include a test of ocular motility (i.e. testing the eye's ability to follow quickly moving objects, usually carried out when patients complain of double vision), and a test of the visual field. There may be several other tests depending on your own ocular health. Eye exam costs may differ from state to state and city to city. In Typically, an eye exam may cost anything from $50 to $300 depending on the range of tests done. Costs may be even higher if a patient is found to be suffering from any serious ocular condition that requires extensive testing. Many people tend to ignore regular eye tests, despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle and getting regular complete body check-ups. As I've said before in this article, eye exams can Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! often reveal the existence of far more serious medical conditions, so it is imperative for the sake of your eyes as well as your body to get undergo regular eye exams. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 3. Why Should You Get Routine Eye Exams? Routine eye exams are often ignored, yet a very fundamental feature of a thorough, holistic health program. While many people get complete body checkups regularly, few visit an eye doctor for an eye exam as often. The end result is that vision problems get neglected and develop into far more serious conditions than they should be. It is estimated that vision related problems cost America upwards of $51Bn every year. A lot of these problems can be avoided through early detection, saving billions of dollars annually. A routine eye exam can have several components. One kind of eye exam that is designed largely to detect vision problems like weak eyesight (nearsightedness or farsightedness) is carried out by an optometrist. An optometrist is not an actual doctor and can only detect above mentioned eye problems and write prescriptions for the same (that is, prescriptions for corrective glasses, lenses, etc.). An eye exam conducted by an optometrist would be quite cheap. Major retail stores like Wal-Mart offer such eye tests within the store itself, and you can simply walk in without an appointment to get your eyes checked. More often than not, you can even order corrective glasses and lenses from the optometrist himself. A more thorough eye exam that would not only measure your eyesight but also provide insights into any other vision problems you may have would be carried out by a trained eye doctor (called an 'ophthalmologist'). These exams are far more thorough and are essential for maintaining healthy eyes. An ophthalmologist would be able to detect glaucoma, presbyopia, astigmatism, Dry Eye Syndrome, etc. and provide medication for the same. Many eye related problems such as blurry vision, seeing spots before the eyes, etc. may be Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! early symptoms of far more serious diseases like diabetes, strokes, etc. Regular eye exams would make early detection of these diseases possible. Visiting an eye doctor can be quite expensive, which is perhaps one reason why many people tend to ignore their eye health. Further, most health insurance plans do not have adequate coverage for regular eye exams and other vision related problems, further deterring people. Considering the importance of routine eye exams in maintaining eye health, it is recommended that you obtain a vision insurance plan in addition to your health plan that would provide coverage for any vision related problems. Such a vision insurance plan won't set you back by a few dollars a month, but will end up saving you hundreds of dollars over time. Routine eye exams, conducted preferably by an ophthalmologist than an optometrist, are essential components of any comprehensive health plan. No matter what your age is, visiting the eye doctor regularly should be given top priority. Older people who tend to suffer from more eye problems than their younger counterparts should make a particular effort to get routine check-ups done. With the increasing use of computers, instances of vision related problems are growing, even among young children. This only goes to show that no matter your age, you should get a complete eye exam done every 4-6 months. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 4. Common Eye Problems Your eyes are one of the most delicate organs in the body, as well as the most precious of our senses. It is hard to imagine any human existence without the gift of sight. It is this gift that has guided our evolution and advancement, both as species and as civilizations. Recollect any of your fondest memories - chances are, they had largely to do with your sense of sight. Whether it is captivating scenery, a beautiful face, or a breathtaking work of art - all would be impossible without the gift of sight made possible through the eyes. Because the eyes are so delicate, they often tend to get inflicted with different problems and diseases. Common eye problems can range from poor eyesight to glaucoma, twitching, swollen eyes, etc. Let's take a deeper look at some common eye problems: 1. Twitching, Itching Twitching eyes are very common and almost everybody has been afflicted with this eye problem at one point of time or the other. Common causes of eye twitching are excessive caffeine consumption, stress, an anxiety attack, or fatigue. Itching of the eyes usually occurs due to the presence of some irritant in the eye. But it can also occur due to conditions such as Pink Eye Syndrome or Dry Eye Syndrome (in which the tear ducts fail to keep the eyes lubricated). Allergies can also cause eye itching. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 2. Spots and Blurry Vision If you see spots before your eyes, it may be the precursor or early symptom of some serious medical conditions such as diabetes or even a stroke. Of course, many a times, this is caused due to fatigue and stress alone, but if this condition keeps on reoccurring, you should seek medical attention. Blurry vision is usually caused due to vision problems - nearsightedness or farsightedness. It can also be caused due to migraines or conditions like glaucoma. Blurry vision can typically be corrected by using appropriate lenses/glasses. If it is caused due to migraines, glaucoma or Dry Eye Syndrome, then you will need to take medication for these conditions. 3. Age Related Eye Problems The eyes function continuously throughout all our waking hours for much of our lives. With age, the muscles that control the eyes become weak, leading to several age related eye problems. These may range from glaucoma, cataracts, and presbyopia. Most of these conditions can be treated nowadays. 4. Other Common Eye Problems There are several other common eye problems, ranging from non-threatening and easily curable to those that can cost you your eyesight. Color blindness, for example, is very common vision problem that is non-threatening. A color blind person is unable to Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! differentiate between primary colors. At most, color blindness may exclude a sufferer from a few activities such as driving, etc. Ophthalmology - the field of medicine associated with treating eye problems - has advanced tremendously over the past few decades. Today there are cures for all major eye problems, and scientists have even been working on a cure for blindness. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 5. Eye Infections – Causes, Cures and Symptoms An eye disease caused by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes is called an eye infection. Eye infections can range from the common conjunctivitis to rare allergies. Eye infections can vary in the degree of severity, but in most cases, they are easy to cure. Eye infections are usually transferable from one person to the other. They can strike anyone regardless of their ocular health, though they tend to be more common among those who wear contact lenses. This is largely due to infections in the contact lens itself. An eye infection may be caused either due to direct contact with pathogens through eye wear, eye lids, etc., or through remote contact through sinuses. Infections can be caused through infected eye wear, eye surgery, injuries or trauma, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or immune deficiencies as well. Symptoms for various infections differ. The most common type of infection - that is, bacterial conjunctivitis - results in red, swollen and itchy eyes. There is frequent discharge of liquid and constant irritation. The eyes may also appear swollen with excessive tearing. Other infections, such as blepharitis typically has similar symptoms. The eyes turn red, there is excessive tearing, and constant discomfort. Blepharitis also involve light and glare sensitivity and a burning sensation. If your eyes turn excessively red or are painful, it is best Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! advised to consult an ophthalmologist immediately for proper diagnosis, especially since most eye infections are similar in immediately discernible symptoms. Eye infections can strike anyone but tend to be more common in children or those with poor hygiene or health. If you've undergone any eye surgery recently, chances of an infection increase manifold. Trauma or injury can also lead to an eye infection, so proper care is a must. Further, since most infections are highly contagious, you should avoid contact with any patient. An eye infection can occur through contact with an infected surface, whether it is a hand or a pair of glasses/contact lenses. You should take care to always wash your hands before touching your eyes. You should also never share eye make-up, glasses or contact lenses with anyone, let alone an infected person. You should also avoid using towels, handkerchiefs, etc. used by an infected person. Further preventive measures include wearing eye protection whenever you are out in the sun, not sharing any eyewear cleaning solutions, and avoiding exposure to contaminated or dirty water. Treatment is infection dependent and correct diagnosis is the first step. Some infections such as conjunctivitis are very contagious and require the patient to remain in isolation. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Most treatment courses involve an antibiotic eye-drop or ointment along with antibacterial medication ingested orally. Most doctors will also advise warm compresses applied directly to the eyes frequently, which helps remove any debris from the eyes and reducing bacteria. Eye infections are easily curable in most cases, though the biggest challenge is containing their spread as they are highly contagious. If you do get affected, it is best advised to stay in isolation for a few days until the symptoms reduce. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 6. Eye Strain – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Eye strain is one of the most common eye related complaints that people have. It may occur due to a number of reasons and is very easy to cure in most cases. Medically, it is called asthenopia. With the increasing use of computers in homes and workplaces, instances of eye strain have risen sharply. Eye strain or astheopia is a symptom rather than an eye disease. It usually occurs when eyes get tired and fatigued due to intensive use. It manifests itself as discomfort in looking at things. Most people have experienced eye strain in some form or the other. It is not a serious condition and can be treated through rest alone. However, if eye strain occurs frequently, it may be taken as a sign of other more serious eye diseases. Symptoms of Eye Strain The common symptoms of eye strain are easy to identify. They include discomfort in the eyes, dryness or conversely, mild tears, soreness, and an inability to concentrate on things. Other symptoms include pain at the back of the neck and temples, headaches, and blurred, double vision. There are no medical tests to determine the severity or degree of eye strain; it is subjective, varying from patient to patient. It is also lifestyle dependent - those used to spending long Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! hours working before computer screens or reading will suffer less from eye strain than others. If eye strain does occur frequently, then it is advised that you consult your ophthalmologist as it can be a symptom of an underlying eye disease. Causes of Eye Strain Eye strain is typically caused by intensive use of the eyes for a long period of time. Visually intensive tasks such as reading (especially if the print is small), watching television, working with computers, playing video games or driving are common causes of eye strain. Working in dim light can also cause tightening of the muscles in the face around the eyes, leading to eye strain. In some cases, eye strain may be a symptom of underlying ocular conditions such as presbyopia, nearsightedness or farsightedness. Strain in those already suffering from these conditions can be an indicator of the need for higher power corrective optical instruments (glasses or lenses). Treatments for Eye Strain Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Treating most forms of eye strain is as simple as taking a rest for a few hours. Relaxing the eyes naturally relieves them of any built up stress and fatigue. Certain exercises such as closing the eyes for a few minutes, massaging the temples, etc. can also provide temporary relief. If you are going to spend long hours before a computer or on other visually intensive tasks, it is recommended that you take periodic breaks. You can also reduce the intensity or frequency of eye strain by working in more suitable conditions. If using computers, try using a LCD or TFT monitor instead of a CRT one. Make sure that you work in well-lit conditions and always maintain a healthy distance between yourself and a computer or television screen. Take a break every hour and stretch your arms, back and shoulders to relieve your body of built up stress. If eye strain leads to excessive dryness of the eyes, you can get an over-the-counter eye drop for relief. In almost all cases, eye strain is not serious and can be easily cured through rest, but if it persists for a long time, it may be wise to consult an ophthalmologist. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 7. Astigmatism – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Astigmatism is a refractive eye disorder which causes blurred vision. It is a fairly common eye problem can be corrected quite easily by using lenses or glasses or getting surgery. Normally, a person’s cornea is perfectly spherical in shape. When light enters the cornea, it is refracted equally in all directions and a focused image is formed on the retina. But when a person suffers from astigmatism, the shape of the cornea is distorted and so, a sharp focused image cannot be formed. This results in hazy and blurred vision. Causes of Astigmatism In majority of cases, this disorder is hereditary i.e. it is passed on from one generation to the other. Besides that, it is also common in people who spend a lot of time working in the front of the computer or who sue their eyes for activities like embroidery which require constant precision. Additionally, incorrect posture can also result in increased pressure on the cornea, which would eventually distort its curvature. Symptoms of Astigmatism So, how do you know if you are actually suffering from this eye disorder? The most obvious symptom is obviously blurred and hazy vision. However, blurred vision is a common Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! symptom for many other eye disorders. But if you are indeed suffering from astigmatism, the objects will remain blurred even when viewed from very close distances. Other symptoms of astigmatism include constant headache, fatigue, dizziness, eye strain and the inability to concentrate on a particular object. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you must visit your ophthalmologist who will be able to diagnose the exact cause of these symptoms after running a few tests. Treatment of Astigmatism The treatment for this eye disorder depends on just how bad it is. In most cases, the degree of astigmatism is quite mild and can be treated easily with corrective lenses. There are specific kinds of lenses for treating astigmatism called toric lenses. Your optometrist will decide the ideal kind of toric lenses for you after running some basic tests. In case of high degrees of astigmatism, you can also consider refractive surgery. This surgery corrects the curvature and shape or your cornea making as perfectly spherical. Once this is achieved, the images formed will be sharp and focused as light rays will refract properly inside the eye. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! As technology has advanced, various other forms of surgeries and corrective measures have emerged. In case you are suffering from astigmatism or are experiencing any of its symptoms, you should definitely visit your optometrist and discuss the issue with him. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 8. Glaucoma – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases, striking 1 in 200 people below 50. It is much more common among the elderly - almost 10% of all people above 80 suffer from glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very dangerous disease as it can lead to loss of eye sight if left untreated. Further, detection of this eye disease is quite difficult as the symptoms manifest themselves only in more advanced stages. In glaucoma, the optic nerve gets damaged, typically due to increased pressure of aqueous humor, the fluid present in the eye. Damage to the optic nerve may be minor, but over time, it may lead to complete blindness. Symptoms of Glaucoma Glaucoma can be effectively classified into two types: Open-Angle, and Closed-Angle. The former is more common, and also harder to detect. In open-angle glaucoma, the patient suffers gradual loss of eyesight leading to complete blindness if left untreated. The field of vision gradually decreases and there are changes in the optic nerve. Because of the absence of perceptible changes in the early stages, it becomes difficult to detect. More than 90% of all glaucoma cases in the United States are open-angle, though this figure is much smaller in Asian and European countries. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Closed-angle glaucoma is rarer. Its symptoms are also much more acute, and include pain in the eyes, seeing spots, halos or lights, extremely red eyes, and nausea. Vision loss may be very sudden and extremely painful. Closed-angle glaucoma needs to be treated immediately as it can very quickly lead to complete blindness. It affects less than 10% of people in the United States. Causes of Glaucoma The primary cause of this eye disease, as outlined above, is increase in the pressure on the ocular nerve from the fluid present in the eyes (aqueous humor). This increase in the pressure itself is influenced by genetics. For instance, East Asians are more likely to suffer from closed-angle glaucoma than open-angle, whereas those with an African descent are thrice as likely to suffer from open-angle glaucoma than their Caucasian counterparts. Other causes of glaucoma are diabetes, variations in blood pressure, hypertension, and trauma. This eye disease is also related to age and is much more prevalent among the elderly. This is because of genetics, as well as increased health issues among the elderly such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. Cures of Glaucoma Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! There is no permanent cure for glaucoma as of now, and all the cures can only provide temporary relief. In early stages, glaucoma can be corrected by taking external medication such as eye drops. These eye drops help to reduce the pressure in the eyes. In later stages, surgery may be effective in providing temporary relief. Surgery may be carried out through conventional methods, or through laser. In most cases, such operations don't provide long lasting cures. Glaucoma is a difficult disease to cure because of its genetic origins. However, one can prevent its occurrence by taking good care of the health, especially against diseases like diabetes and hypertension which have a role to play in this eye disease. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 9. Keratoconus – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments The word "Keratoconus" comes from the Greek 'kerato', which means horn or cornea, and 'konos', which means cone. Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the cornea, which is naturally round in shape, degenerates and bulges into a pointed, cone shape. Because of this altered shape, the light entering the eye gets deflected, leading to blurred, distorted vision. Symptoms of Keratoconus In most cases, Keratoconus occurs gradually over time, usually occurring after mid-20s. Because of its slow development rate, detection of this eye disease becomes quite difficult. In this disease, the shape of the eye disintegrates from the natural round shape, which causes gradual loss of near field vision along with irregular astigmatism. Light sensitivity may also occur in many cases, though the most common symptom is nearsightedness and distorted vision. If you already use glasses, you may find your eye power changing rapidly - increasing or decreasing every time you visit the optometrist for a regular eye check-up. However, in most cases, these changes are quite subtle and an untrained ophthalmologist might not be able to detect the early symptoms of Keratoconus. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Causes of Keratoconus Earlier, it was thought that this eye disease occurs due to injuries or other external factors. However, newer research has shown that one of the primary causes of Keratoconus is an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea. Because of this imbalance, the cornea may get damaged from free radicals - a compound that is present in the air. This damage can cause the cornea to get distorted and bulge out, leading to the conical shape. Most cases of this eye disease are genetic in nature. If your family has a history of this disease, chances are, you may have it too. Other less prominent causes include overexposure to the sun, rubbing eyes excessively due to chronic eye irritation, or poorly fitted contact lenses. Treatment of Keratoconus Keratoconus can be difficult to treat, especially in more advanced stages. In early stages, it can be cured by wearing soft lenses. However, in more advanced stages, such measures are inadequate and a patient might be required to wear rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP lenses). Fitting these lenses can be quite difficult and cause a great deal of discomfort to the eyes. Many a times, eye care practitioners bypass this difficulty by "piggybacking" a RGP lens over Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! a soft contact lens placed over the eye. The RGP lens fits over the cornea and smoothens it out, erasing any problems created by the bulging shape. It is best to consult a trained eye doctor regarding treatment for Keratoconus. Depending on the extent of the disease, your ophthalmologist may prescribe different treatment measures, ranging from soft lenses to RGP and hybrid lenses. In almost all cases, Keratoconus is curable and your eyesight will not suffer in the long term. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 10. Presbyopia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Presbyopia is one of the most common eye diseases. It usually occurs around middle age and is characterized by reduced or blurred vision. Colloquially, presbyopia is the loss of near vision and can be corrected by using optical instruments such as glasses and lenses. It is estimated that a billion people across the world suffer from this eye disease. Symptoms of Presbyopia Presbyopia is typically associated with blurry vision, especially when reading, working on computers, etc. People suffering from it usually have to hold reading objects at a distance to read them properly. If you find yourself reading a book by keeping it at an arm's length, you know that you should see an ophthalmologist for presbyopia treatment. Causes of Presbyopia Presbyopia is largely age related. Unlike nearsightedness or farsightedness, which are affected by genetic factors, presbyopia is caused by the gradual loss of flexibility of the eye lens. With age, the muscles controlling the eyes tighten up, losing their elasticity. This means that the eye lens has to try harder to focus on close objects. Also, the proteins that make up Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! the eye lens harden up with age, leading to loss of flexibility. All this contributes to presbyopia. Treatments and Cures of Presbyopia The most common and highly effective cure for presbyopia is the use of corrective optical instruments such as glasses and lenses. For patients suffering from presbyopia alone, reading glasses are an apt solution. These reading glasses can be purchased over the counter easily. Those suffering from nearsightedness as well as presbyopia, farsightedness, etc. can opt for bifocals or progressive addition lenses (PALs). Bi-focals are essentially glasses that have corrective lenses for both near and far vision. Progressive Addition Lenses are the same as bi-focals in function, but offer a more gradual transition between the near and far vision lenses. There is also no vision transition between the two on the surface of the lens. With age, the flexibility of your eye lens will further deteriorate, so you will need to periodically increase the power of your contact lenses/glasses. Periodic visits to the eye doctor or optometrist are advised to make sure that you are using the appropriate corrective devices. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! Another option for presbyopia patients is to opt for surgery. LASIK is one of the most common options and is highly effective. It is also quite affordable and is non-invasive as well. Along with LASIK, there are several experimental treatments that haven't quite achieved the same success rate as LASIK. One experimental treatment, for example, includes injecting an elastic gel like substance that will replace the natural eye lens. However, since most such treatments are in the experimental stages, it is recommended that you opt for LASIK if you do plan on getting surgery done for this eye disease. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 11. Pterygium – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments Pterygium, sometimes also called "Surfer's Eye", is benign growth of the conjunctiva. For those of you without MDs, conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye (i.e., the sclera) and forms the inner lining of the eyelids. Pterygium is common among those who spend a great deal of time in the sun without any protective gear (i.e. sunglasses). It typically develops from the side of the nose towards the opposite corner of the eye. Symptoms of Pterygium In early stages, this eye disease can lead to frequent irritation in the eyes, redness, soreness, and a constant feeling of a foreign body present in the eyes. In some cases, it may even cause bleeding of the eyes. In advanced stages, Pterygium can obscure vision and potentially lead to scarring of the cornea - a serious condition that can cause astigmatism and long term loss of vision. Pterygium is difficult to detect in the early stages because the symptoms are often low intensity and are overlooked by patients. Further, since this eye disease is found primarily among those who spend long hours outdoors, its early symptoms can be easily confused with a host of common eye problems, including simple infections or just simple eye strain. More Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! often than not, this disease is detected only much later when it is already in the advanced stages, increasing the chances of degeneration into more serious eye problems. Causes of Pterygium Pterygium is common among those who spend long hours in the sun without any protective gear (hence the colloquial name: surfer's eye). Thus, it is commonly associated with extended exposure to UV rays or excessive wind (which can lead to dryness and itching). Surfers, water-sports enthusiasts, and snow-boarders/skiers tend to suffer from this disease as they are often exposed to harmful UV radiation that is amplified and reflected by the water/snow surface. Prevention of Pterygium is as easy as wearing a pair of sunglasses when outside, and using artificial tear drops to keep the eyes well lubricated. Treatment of Pterygium In the early stages, this eye disease can be cured through administration of artificial eye drops alone. Preventive measures outlined above are usually very effective. A permanent cure without resorting to surgery in advanced stages, however, is unforthcoming. Even surgery requires extensive post-operation care, and the disease may manifest itself after a period of time. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! As of now, a variety of treatments options are available to cure Pterygium, ranging from glue and suture application to irradiation and even membrane transplant. However, as mentioned above, the only fool-proof treatment method available to advanced stage patients is surgery, which itself may not be 100% effective. Pterygium is an eye disease that can be very easily avoided. Curing it is easy in early stages, but that may only provide symptomatic relief. It is best to wear protective eye gear and avoid the occurrence of this disease altogether. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! 12. LASIK Surgery – What is it, and How Much Does LASIK Surgery Cost? LASIK is one of the most popular surgical procedures used to correct refractive errors in the eye. It is used to treat ocular conditions such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. It is a non-invasive procedure that is carried out using a laser by a trained eye surgeon (ophthalmologist). Since it is non-invasive, it gives very quick results, is safer, and also leads to faster recovery among patients. LASIK is largely opted for by those suffering from common vision problems such as the ones mentioned above. It is typically recommended for patients with severe vision problems - that is, those who are compelled to wear high power glasses or lenses. After LASIK, most patients would not need to wear any eye gear, though patients with very high power might still need to wear glasses/lenses. Prior to a LASIK surgery, a patient is required to wear special soft contact lenses for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. After this, the ophthalmologist would examine the patient's corneas and map the curvature and surface contour. Before the surgery, the patient might be administered an antibiotic to reduce the chances of any infection. LASIK surgery is usually performed with the patient fully awake. An anesthetic eye drop is administered but the patient is typically fully mobile and cognizant of the operation. Since Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! LASIK is an outpatient procedure, the patient can be discharged almost immediately after the surgery. However, there can be several complications post LASIK if proper post-operative care instructions aren't followed. The patient is typically advised to sleep a couple of hours extra every day for a few weeks after the operation. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication is also prescribed for at least three weeks post-surgery. In many cases, the patient might also be required to wear special glasses to prevent itching/scratching of the eyes during sleep. Failure to follow these care instructions can lead to several complications. In fact, most cases of failure with respect to LASIK usually happen due to the patient's negligence post- operation. Common complications involving laser surgery are surgery induced dry eyes (hence most post-operative care procedures involve administration of tear drops for a period of 4 weeks), overcorrection or under correction, light sensitivity, double images, etc. Since the patient is advised not to venture out into the sun, it may also lead to Vitamin D deficiency, further intensified by light sensitivity post-operation. LASIK surgery has become the most popular refractive surgical procedure all across the world. In the US, patients report 92-98% success rate. One study put the satisfaction rate among patients at 95.4%. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information! LASIK surgery cost is another reason for its popularity. In some countries like India, LASIK surgery cost can be as low as $400-500. The cost is quite a bit more in the US - it can come down to anywhere from $1800-$3000. LASIK is recommended only for patients above 18 years, though most doctors advise that younger patients should opt for LASIK only if their power has stabilized. Save Thousands of Dollars on Eye Care by Getting Yourself an Individual Vision Insurance Policy. Click Here for FREE Information!
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