Patient Zone: Common Eye Conditions

Below is a A-Z list of common eye conditions. If you are ever concerned about your eye health, please contact a healthcare professional.

A - C

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition which affects the central part of your retina which is called the macula. It causes changes to your central vision which can make some everyday tasks difficult.

Aniridia means the iris, which is the coloured part of your eye, is missing or incomplete. Some children with aniridia may only have mild blurred vision and others may have quite a lot of sight loss.

Anti-VEGF treatment for wet AMD
Anti-VEGF treatments are a group of medicines which reduce new blood vessel growth or oedema (swelling). They can be used to treat a number of eye conditions which cause new blood vessel growth or swelling under the macula area of your retina.

Best's disease
Best disease is a genetic condition you are born with, although it does not usually start to affect your vision until later in life. Best disease affects the macula which is part of your retina at the back of your eye which you use when reading, writing or watching TV. There is no current treatment for Best disease although research is on-going in the area of gene therapy which may lead to a treatment in the future.

Cataracts cause changes to the lens in your eye which makes your sight cloudy and misty. Cataracts are treated by surgery, during which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an artificial lens.

Cataracts - laser treatment following cataract surgery
Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is a fairly common complication of cataract surgery. Sometimes you can develop a thickening of the back (posterior) of the lens capsule which holds your artificial lens in place.

Central serous retinopathy
Central serous retinopathy (CSR) affects the central area of your retina, known as the macula. CSR can cause your vision to be blurry and distorted due to fluid collecting underneath your macula. Objects often appear smaller and distorted in the affected eye.

Charles Bonnet syndrome
Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a common condition among people who’ve lost their sight. It causes people who’ve lost a lot of vision to see things that aren’t really there – medically known as having a hallucination.

Coat's disease
Coats’ disease, also known as Exudative Retinitis, is an uncommon eye condition which affects the smaller blood vessels (capillaries) found in your retina – the light sensitive layer which lines the inside of your eye. Coats’ disease can make these blood vessels weak and grow incorrectly causing them to leak fluid and blood under your retina. This means that the cells of your retina can’t work properly and this can cause sight to be affected. Coats’ disease usually occurs in children or teenagers under the age of 18 but most often before the age of 10. It affects boys more than girls, and most children with Coats’ disease only have the retinal changes in one eye.

A coloboma is a gap in part of the structures of the eye. This gap can be large or small and is normally in the bottom part of the eye.

Congenital cataracts
A cataract can make your vision blurry, a bit like trying to look through frosted glass. Some babies are born with cataracts or develop cataracts at a very early age.

Corneal dystrophies
Your cornea is the clear part of the front of the eye. Corneal dystrophies are common genetic conditions which cause changes to your cornea without any inflammation, infection or other eye disease.

Corneal transplant
A corneal transplant is surgery to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy, clear cornea tissue from the eye of a donor who has died.


Diabetes-related eye conditions
Diabetes can affect your eyes in a number of ways. The most serious eye condition related to Diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Early diagnosis is vital. Most sight-threatening diabetic problems can be managed if treatment is carried out early enough.

Dry eye
Dry Eye is a really common condition caused by insufficient or abnormal tears. It can make your eye feel dry, scratchy, uncomfortable or like there is something in your eye all the time. Although it can be irritating Dry Eye won’t lead to permanent sight loss and often the symptoms can be managed easily. Find out more here

Fuchs dystrophy
Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy is an inherited eye condition, which may cause your cornea to become cloudy.

Giant cell or temporal arteritis
Giant Cell Arteritis is a condition which affects the arteries. If left untreated it can cause serious sight loss.

Glaucoma is an eye condition where your optic nerve is damaged by the pressure of the fluid inside your eye. Most types of glaucoma have no symptoms, so a regular eye test is the only way to know you have the condition. Treatment with drops can often prevent glaucoma causing sight loss.

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) affects your cornea, the clear dome-shaped window at the front of your eye. Your cornea focuses light into your eye to help produce a clear image. In keratoconus your cornea becomes weaker and thinner at its centre. This thinning causes it to bulge outwards in an irregular cone shape. This can make your vision blurry and distorted, as light being focused by your cornea forms an unclear image on your retina, at the back of your eye.

Light sensitivity
Some people experience light sensitivity which means they have problems with certain levels of light. Lots of people become more sensitive to light as they get older and some people are naturally more light sensitive than others. Many common eye conditions can also make people more sensitive to light

Macular hole
A macular hole is a small hole in the macula at the centre of your retina. A macular hole is a very different eye condition from macular degeneration even though they both affect the macula. Similarly, a macular hole is not the same as a retinal hole and is treated differently.

Myopia and high degree myopia
Myopia, often known as "being short sighted", causes your vision to be blurry in the distance but clearer when looking at things up close. It’s a very common condition and for most people it can easily be dealt with using contact lenses or glasses, which will make your vision clear and crisp. An alternative is laser correction.

Nystagmus is a condition which causes constant movement of the eyes which you can’t control. It’s caused by a problem with the way the eye sends messages back to the brain or how parts of the brain which deal with eye movement make sense of the information.

O - Z

Optic neuritis
Optic neuritis means inflammation (swelling) of your optic nerve. For most people, although this can cause some problems with vision in the short term, optic neuritis normally gets better on its own and does not usually cause any lasting loss of vision. Optic neuritis commonly involves the central area of your vision. However, any area of your vision (your visual field) may be affected.

Posterior lens capsule opacification
Posterior capsule opacification (PCO) is a fairly common complication of cataract surgery. Sometimes you can develop a thickening of the back (posterior) of the lens capsule which holds your artificial lens in place.

Posterior vitreous detachment
Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is a very common eye condition. It's caused by natural changes to the vitreous gel which takes up the space inside the eye. Although PVD causes some frustrating symptoms it doesn’t cause pain, harm the eye or cause permanent loss of vision.

Retinal detachment
A retinal detachment happens when the retina separates from the back of the inside of your eye. If a retinal detachment isn’t detected or treated quickly it may result in a loss of some or all the vision in your eye. If you develop any of the symptoms associated with retinal detachment you should see an eye health professional as soon as possible.

Retinal vessel occlusion
A retinal vessel occlusion is a blockage in the blood vessel of your eye that can result in sight loss. There are two types of retinal blood vessels, arteries and veins. Either of these can become blocked and each of them can affect the eye in different ways. The visual loss caused by retinal vein and artery occlusions is painless. It is usual for only one eye to be involved at a time, but occasionally both eyes may be affected at the same time.

Retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited eye conditions that affect the retina at the back of the eye. RP causes permanent changes to your vision, but how much and how quickly varies from person-to-person.

Retinopathy of prematurity
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is when the retinal blood vessels do not develop normally in babies that are born prematurely. It can cause a serious loss of vision if it isn't diagnosed and treated early. A premature baby is born before their expected date of delivery.

Squint in childhood
Squint is an eye condition, where the eyes do not look in the same direction. This means that one eye may not focus on an object someone is looking at. Whilst one eye looks forwards to focus on an object, the other eye turns either inwards, outwards, upwards or downwards.

Stargardt disease
Stargardt macular dystrophy is an inherited eye condition that affects your macula, which is a tiny part of the retina, the light sensitive film at the back of your eye. Stargardt macular dystrophy causes a reduction in your central, or detailed, vision. This is the vision you use when looking directly at something. Stargardt macular dystrophy doesn't usually affect your peripheral vision which is your side vision.

Stroke-related eye conditions
Stroke is one of the most common causes of adult disability. Every year an estimated 152,000 strokes occur in the UK and about half of survivors will have a disability. Your ability to see involves your brain as well as your eyes so stroke related vision problems can be very complex to understand and treat.

Thyroid eye disease
Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an eye condition that causes the muscles and soft tissues in and around your eye socket to swell. It usually happens when you have a problem with your thyroid gland. It may also be called thyroid associated ophthalmopathy (TAO), thyroid orbitopathy, Graves’ orbitopathy or Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO).

Uveitis is an eye condition where there is inflammation (swelling) in a part of your eye called the uvea. Uveitis affects different people in different ways depending on which part of the uvea is affected. The symptoms of uveitis may include pain, sensitivity to bright lights and poor vision. Most cases of uveitis get better with treatment. Some types of uveitis are more difficult to treat and may cause more permanent changes to your vision. Around two to five in every 10,000 people are affected by uveitis in the UK every year. Uveitis affects people of any age, but most commonly between the ages of 20 and 59 years. Some children develop uveitis.

Information sourced from the RNIB website, December 2017

Approved: JB027 MAY 2018