Common Eye Disorders

What are some common eye disorders?

The following list provides a brief description of several common eye disorders. Talk with your healthcare provider or an ophthalmologist or optometrist for more information.

Age-related macular degeneration. The age-related breaking down, or degeneration, of the macula area of the retina of the eye.

Amblyopia. A reduction or dimming of vision in an eye that appears to be otherwise normal.

Astigmatism. A condition in which an abnormal curvature of the cornea makes objects up close and at a distance appear blurry.

Blepharitis. An inflammation of the edges of the eyelids involving hair follicles and glands, which help to wet the surface of the eye.

Cataract. A condition in which the lens of the eye becomes dense or opaque and does not properly transmit light.

Chalazion. A small bump that develops on the upper or lower eyelid. It is caused by inflamed meibomian glands that make the oil in tears.

Conjunctivitis. Sometimes called pink eye, this is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the sclera and inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis may be caused by bacteria or viruses, making it very contagious.

Diabetic retinopathy. A disorder of the retina resulting from damage to the eye blood vessels and found in some people who have diabetes.

Dry eye. This happens when there is not enough moisture in the eye, causing it to feel dry, hot, sandy, and gritty. Dry eye may be caused by low humidity, smoke, aging, certain diseases, and certain medicines (for example, antihistamines or decongestants).

Floaters. These appear as spots, dots, or lines and affect or interrupt vision. Floaters are usually caused by bits of debris in the vitreous humor.

Glaucoma. A disease that damages the optic nerve when fluid and pressure build up in the eye leading to irreversible vision loss.

Hyperopia (also called farsightedness). This means a person has trouble seeing clearly up close.

Iritis. An inflammation of the iris of the eye.

Myopia (also called nearsightedness). This means a person has trouble seeing clearly at a distance.

Presbyopia. Another type of farsightedness and is caused when the center of the eye lens hardens making it unable to accommodate near vision.

Retina detachment. The separation of the retina from the back of the eye.

Retinitis pigmentosa. The name given to a group of hereditary eye disorders, all of which involve the eye's retina, and retinal pigment epithelium, the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, and all of which cause a gradual, yet progressive, loss or reduction in visual ability.

Strabismus (also called crossed eyes). This describes a misalignment of the eyes. 

Stye. A noncontagious, bacterial infection of one of the sebaceous glands of the eyelid, typically tender to the touch. A stye looks like a small, red bump either on the eyelid or on the edge of the eyelid.

Uveitis. A condition that happens in the uvea, or the middle layer of the eye. Because the uvea contains the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the eye, any form of uveitis may be serious and may be a symptom for other serious conditions.