Common Eye Conditions

Here are some of the common eye problems optometrists can detect on an eye exam:

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia decreases distance vision while near vision is usually ok hence “nearsightedness”. This is due the eye ball being too long and/or the curvature of the cornea (front surface of the eye) being too steep.

A minus lens is used to bend the light to place the image onto the retina so it can be seen clearly.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Hyperopia usually decreases near vision while distance vision is ok but over time or with certain amounts of hyperopia, even distance vision starts to become blurry. This is due to the eye ball being too short and/or the curvature of the cornea being too flat.

A plus lens is used to correct this condition.


Presbyopia decreases our near vision which usually starts after the age of 40. It is due to the weakening of the muscle in the eye and as well as the hardening of the lens.


Astigmatism can decrease both distance and near vision. This is mostly due to the cornea being more oval shaped which causes doubling or distortion of the images.
Lens and other changes inside the eyeball can also contribute.


A cataract is the clouding of the lens inside our eye. It causes blurry vision and can change our colour perception. Cataracts mostly formed with age but also UV exposure, medications, diseases and trauma can induce it.

Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) can lead to central vision loss when deposits called drusen collect in the macula. It is “age related” since it is mostly seen after the age of 50. The degeneration typically progresses slowly but if bleeding occurs, loss of vision can be rapid and severe. Risk factors are: family history, UV light exposure, smoking and poor diet. Early detection and prevention is vital to help preserve vision.


Glaucoma is when there is damage to the optic nerve typically due to high pressures in the eye which leads to loss of peripheral vision. Most people do not notice any symptoms until it is more advanced so early detection by your optometrist is important.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Along with macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading causes of vision loss in Canada. It is due to the weakening of the retinal blood vessels inside eye which can leak and cause further blood vessels to form ultimately damaging the retina and other parts of the eye.

Retinal Detachment

When the retina begins to pull away from the back of the eye, it is called a retinal detachment. It may be due to some pre-existing conditions such as thinning in the retinal tissue or trauma. This can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated immediately therefore it is consider an ocular emergency. Some symptoms of a retinal detachment are sudden spots, flashing lights on the side and sudden loss of vision.