Vision Problems: Common Types & Symptoms

Early eye disease often has no warning signs. Even if you think you can see well, a comprehensive dilated eye exam is important to protect your sight.

A comprehensive eye exam includes:

An eye test that checks how well you see at various distances.

An exam where drops are placed in your eyes to widen, or dilate, the pupils. Your eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage and other eye problems. After the exam, your up close vision may remain blurred for several hours.

An eye test that checks how well you see at various distances.

A measure of the pressure inside your eye. Numbing drops may be applied to your eye for this test.

Types of Vision Problems

Most Common Adult Vision Problems are:

– Blurred vision (called refractive errors)

– Age-related macular degeneration

– Glaucoma

– Cataract

– Diabetic retinopathy

Symptoms and risk factors

1.Blurred vision (refractive errors)

Nearsightedness (called myopia) is when you can see clearly up close but blurry in the distance.

Farsightedness (called hyperopia) is when you can see clearly in the distance but blurry up close.

If you are older than 40 and have trouble reading small print or focusing up close, this is usually due to a condition called presbyopia. One in every three people 40 years or older in the U.S. will need glasses to read smaller print.

Astigmatism is another condition that causes blurred vision, but it is because of the shape of the cornea.

These conditions affect the shape of the eye and, in turn, how the eye sees.  They can be corrected by eyeglasses, contact lenses, and in some cases surgery.


The risk factors for developing refractive errors:

Family history – parent(s) who have one or more refractive errors

Advancing age – presbyopia affects most adults over age 35


2 Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a disease that blurs the sharp, central vision needed to see straight-ahead.  It affects the part of the eye called the macula that is found in the center of the retina. The macula lets a person see fine detail and is needed for things like reading and driving.

The more common dry form of AMD can be treated in the early stages to delay vision loss and possibly prevent the disease from progressing to the advanced stage. Taking certain vitamins and minerals may reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.

The less common wet form of AMD may respond to treatment, if diagnosed and treated early.

The risk factors for AMD:

Type 1 or 2 diabetes

Poor control of blood sugar level

High blood pressure

High cholesterol


Being African American or Hispanic



3 Glaucoma

There are different types of glaucoma, but all of them cause vision loss by damaging the optic nerve.  Glaucoma is called the “sneak thief of sight” because people don’t usually notice a problem until some vision is lost.

The most common type of glaucoma happens because of slowly increasing fluid pressure inside the eyes.

Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be corrected.  But if it is found early, vision loss can be slowed or stopped. A comprehensive eye exam is important so glaucoma can be found early.

What are the risk factors for glaucoma?  Anyone can have glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk of developing the disease.

African Americans over age 40

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