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Health Library

Common Eye Disorders

What are some common eye disorders?

The following list gives a brief description of 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. The macula is the central part of the retina.

Amblyopia. A reduction 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 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 blood vessels in the retina. It is 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, 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 vision loss.

Farsightedness (hyperopia). This means a person has trouble seeing clearly up close.

Iritis. An inflammation of the iris of the eye.

Nearsightedness (myopia). This means a person has trouble seeing clearly at a distance.

Presbyopia. It is caused when the center of the lens hardens, making it unable to focus enough for the eye to see clearly up close.

Retina detachment. Separation of the retina from the back of the eye.

Retinitis pigmentosa. A group of hereditary eye disorders that involve the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium. They cause a gradual, yet progressive, loss of vision.

Crossed eyes (strabismus). Misalignment of the eyes. 

Stye. A noncontagious bacterial infection of one of the sebaceous glands of the eyelid, which is often 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 causes inflammation 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. It may be a side effect of other serious conditions.