Blindness Awareness Month: Most Common Eye Issues by Age

October 13th, 2021

As October is Blindness Awareness Month, Swagel Wootton Eye Institute is kicking off a series of posts about eye health. Below, our eye doctors in Mesa and Chandler discuss age-related eye diseases impacting children and older adults. Although we take your vision health seriously at any age, some conditions affect the youngest and oldest people.

Here are the top four eye conditions by age, as described by some of the most experienced eye doctors in the Phoenix metro area. Remember, we are here for you whether you need a routine exam or cataract and LASIK surgery in Mesa and Chandler.

Four Common Eye Conditions Impacting Children

1. Pediatric Amblyopia (“Lazy” Eyes)

Up to 5% of children develop a condition (Pediatric Amblyopia) commonly called lazy or crossed eyes. For those with this condition, it’s difficult to focus and see clearly. If left untreated, lazy eye can permanently affect the child’s vision, leading to reduced visual acuity even if the eye is otherwise healthy.

2. Conjunctivitis (“Pink Eye”)

This highly contagious condition causes eyes to become watery, red and itchy. Caused by bacterial or viral infections, this condition can rage through elementary schools, causing intense discomfort until it runs its course in one or two weeks. Although pink eye rarely causes permanent damage, the symptoms are extremely uncomfortable.

If you suspect your child has pink eye, make an appointment for an eye exam immediately. Our eye doctors in Mesa and Chandler may prescribe eye drops or recommend another treatment option to help your child feel more comfortable.

3. Myopia or Hyperopia

Myopia, nearsightedness, or hyperopia, farsightedness, can affect children as young as one year old. There are numerous reasons a child can develop these common refractive errors. For young children, eyeglasses can greatly improve vision in the classroom and elsewhere. Older children in their late teens might opt for contact lenses to gain more freedom from glasses. Once children reach their adult years, they may be a good candidate for LASIK surgery, which often permanently corrects for myopia or hyperopia in many cases.

Once your child is old enough, consider scheduling a consultation for LASIK or related laser surgery. At Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, we specialize in cataract and LASIK surgery in Mesa and Chandler.

4. Eyelid Lumps

Common terms for eyelid lumps include “styes” or “chalazions.” Typically, a blocked eyelash follicle causes the lump to develop. These lumps often clear up on their own. However, if your child develops an eyelid lump that worsens and won’t go away, contact us immediately to set up an appointment.

Four Common Eye Conditions Impacting Older Adults

1. Glaucoma

Glaucoma can occur at any age. However, it’s most likely to impact older adults. During this condition, eye pressure increases, threatening the health of the optic nerve. Left untreated, glaucoma may lead to permanent vision loss. Unfortunately, glaucoma often has no symptoms in the early stages. So, millions of people may have glaucoma but not know it.

Our eye care specialists in the Phoenix metro area can run a series of tests to check whether you have glaucoma. If so, we’ll come up with a treatment plan to slow the disease’s progress.

2. Cataracts

Cataracts cloud your vision by obscuring the otherwise transparent lens. The lens of your eye is made of protein and water. When protein clumps together, it may obscure your vision. Once cataracts begin to impact your vision, you need to schedule cataract surgery to remove them by replacing your natural lens with a permanent artificial one.

We specialize in both cataract and LASIK surgery in Mesa and Chandler. So, you are in good hands with our team of eye specialists.

3. Macular Degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) also affects adults over 50 more often than younger people. AMD impacts your central vision but rarely causes complete blindness. However, if you develop macular degeneration, you may have a hard time reading, driving or performing the task of daily living.

AMD treatment options include low vision eyewear, vitamins, and injections to treat leaky eye vessels, which cause AMD.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes or develop it as you grow older, you may eventually develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy. Our eye care specialists in the Phoenix metro area can diagnose this condition and recommend a course of treatment that can slow the progression of the disease.

Contact our eye doctors in Mesa and Chandler if you or a loved one develops these or other eye conditions. Let us help you protect your vision at every age!