We would like to outline the fundamental aspects of the most frequent eye disorders and symptoms suffered by our patients.
A cataract results from an opacification of the crystalline lens, that is the lens inside the eye responsible for focusing images on the retina. When the crystalline lens loses its transparency, it is in most cases due to age; more rarely it may result from congenital factors, trauma, dysmetabolic syndrome, exposure to radiation.
The cataract leads to a progressive reduction in the quality of vision and in the perception of colours. In the initial phases there could be a refractive variation (index myopia), which is always temporary. In the following stages the cataract thickens causing worsening of the visual damage.
The only treatment is surgery (see Cataract Surgery) which can restore excellent vision on condition that the other ocular structures remain unchanged.
The shape and the structure of the cornea become progressively more deformed, changing from a spherical shape (as in a normal eye), or elliptical shape (as in an astigmatic eye), to an irregular conical shape. At the same time, the distorted area becomes thinner (ectasia) and vision worsens.
In the initial stages, the patient may use prescription glasses to improve the quality of vision, but later is obliged to use specific contact lenses.
In young patients in which the change occurs very quickly, or in the case of contact lens intolerance, a para-surgical (CORNEAL CROSS LINKING) or surgical (implantation of ICRS; LAMELLAR KERATOPLASTY; PENETRATING KERATOPLASTY) operation must be performed.
Glaucoma is the increase in ocular pressure associated with damage to the optic nerve. This disorder mainly occurs after the age of 40 and there is often a family history of it. It is most frequent in myopic patients and those with systemic diseases (diabetes,.). In most cases the patient has no symptoms initially, that is not until the visual damage has become quite severe. It is therefore recommended that ocular pressure should be measured systematically after the age of 40, as a PREVENTIVE measure, particularly in those most at risk.
If an increase in pressure can be identified when the patient has not yet developed irreversible damage to the optic nerve, then suitable medical and/or surgical treatment can be provided and the patient’s eyesight can be preserved.
Strabismus is an alteration in ocular motility which in most cases begins in early infancy, and often has a hereditary component. In many cases it is associated with refractive anomalies (hypermetropia, astigmatism, myopia, anisometropia). Immediate diagnosis is essential, as is consequent treatment with suitable lenses and with orthoptic treatment, which in some cases may be followed by surgery (see Strabismus Surgery).
The more rapid and rigorous the treatment provided, the greater the chances of guaranteeing excellent vision, and functional and motor recovery.
Forms of paralytic strabismus are much rarer and may be due to vascular, diabetic, traumatic or neurological causes; in each case diagnostic and therapeutic criteria are different but anyway optimised by prompt treatment.
There are various types of retinal disease. In some cases they are related to systemic diseases (diabetic retinopathy, retinal thrombosis, arterial occlusion), in others they are hereditary and/or degenerative (age-related macular degeneration, drusen), in yet others they are due to structural factors (peripheral myopic degeneration, retinal rupture, neovascularisation, detached retina). In the initial phases there may be no symptoms or a patient may experience reduced vision, distortion of images, light flashes, ablation in the visual field.
Even more in the case of retinal disorders than with other eye diseases, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to obtain the best final results.