Eye Health Information - Patient Resources | The Vision Center of West Phoenix

Eye Health Information

Welcome to our Eye Health Information Library. As you browse through this part of our web site, you will find dozens of articles that will assist you in investigating all things related to vision.


Amblyopia is also known as lazy eye and it is the lack of normal visual development in an eye that is normally deemed healthy. If left untreated, it can cause legal blindness in the affected eye. It has been published that about 3% of the population is amblyopic.


Astigmatism is not an eye disease. Like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism is a type of refractive error. This means it is a condition that is related to the shape and size of the eye that causes blurred vision. Uncorrected astigmatism can cause headaches and eye strain.


Blepharitis is a mild grade inflammation of the eyelids, occurring particularly at the lid margins. It is a common disorder often associated with a low-grade staph infection or a generalized skin condition.


A cataract is a clouding of the eyes natural human lens, which is located behind the iris or pupil. The lens works just like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina in order for us to see clearly. Most cataracts occur gradually as we age and do not become bothersome until after our mid 50s. Cataracts can also be present at birth or be a result of an injury, disease, or long-term use of medications like steroids.

Childrens Vision

Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses; it plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. Your child needs an eye exam even if they have passed a vision screening at the nurses office or the primary care physicians office. There are several common, yet serious disorders, which are not detected by the eye chart screening. The American Optometric Association recommends that children receive a comprehensive vision exam by an eye doctor at six months of age and then at 3-4 years old. Many parents are surprised to learn that vision screenings provided at school or by the pediatrician are not comprehensive vision examinations. These vision screenings typically only detect nearsightedness, in other words, if your child is able to see the chalkboard. To be successful in school, near vision, depth perception, and eye tracking are important. These conditions and most eye health problems will go undetected at a vision screening.

Contact Lenses

Today there are more convenient and healthy contact lens choices than ever before. Whatever your vision challenge, it can probably be met with an array of specialty contact lenses for individual vision needs, such as Bifocal and Multifocal Contacts, Gas Permeable Contacts, Contact lenses for hard to fit patients, Corneal Reshaping Therapy, and Toric Contact Lenses for Astigmatism.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Patients with diabetes, especially those with uncontrolled blood sugar, can damage blood vessels in the eye. The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to have damage to the blood vessels in the eye. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. Regular eye exams are extremely important for patients with Diabetes because by the time the patient notices vision problems the eyes may be damaged beyond repair.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is considered to be the lack of eye lubrication due to insufficient tear volume, tear chemistry, inflammation, or from a secondary source such as medications or a specific environment. Patients often complain of excess tears, itchiness, a scratchy feeling, vision that comes and goes, redness, irritation, and general or local pain around the eye.

Eye Allergies

Eye allergies can occur from exposure to everyday things such as dust, pollen, animal dander, make up, and even contact lens solution. Allergies can also trigger other eye problems, such as conjunctivitis and other opportunistic infections. Patients often complain of excess tearing, itchiness, redness, swollen eyelids, runny nose, difficulty breathing, and headaches from sinus congestion.

Eye Exams

Seeing clearly is just one part of your overall eye health. It is important to have regular eye exams whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, and even if your vision is sharp. The articles below explain what problems can be spotted with an eye exam, what is involved in a comprehensive exam, and special considerations for kids and contacts.

Eye Glasses

Eyeglass frame materials have evolved with the advent of new plastics and various types of metals. If you suffer from skin allergies, hypoallergenic metals such as titanium or stainless steel are good choices. You also have many options when choosing the lenses for your eyeglasses. Among the most popular types of lenses are: Aspheric lenses, High index lenses, Mid index lenses, Polycarbonate lenses, Photochromic lenses, Polarized lenses and Glare-free coatings. There are also different types of specialty eyewear available such as Computer glasses, Safety or Protective eyewear, Sports eyewear for Golf, Tennis, Baseball, Swimming, Skiing and others, and lastly driving eyewear for people that are on the road often.


Floaters may look like specks, strands, webs, or other shapes, and they are usually normal and harmless. They are even more noticeable when looking at a white wall or a blue sky. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of a gel like substance that fills the inside of your eyes. If you experience a sudden increase in the amount or size of floaters, as well as flashes of light or parts of the peripheral vision that seem to be covered, you must see your eye doctor immediately. This may be a sign of a more serious condition such as a retinal detachment or stroke.


Glaucoma is a term that is actually referring to a variety of eye disorders. Glaucoma is often associated with eye pressure that is too high for that particular patient. This excess in pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve head, the structure or cable that is responsible for delivering all the visual information to the back of our brain. The condition often affects the side vision first, and therefore there is very little warning or symptoms. This condition is currently the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. Regular eye exams and discussions of family history with your eye doctor are very important.


Hyperopia is often termed farsightedness, is a common vision condition affecting about one in four Americans. People with this refractive error often can see things good at distance but have trouble seeing things at near or experience quick fatigue or unsteady vision when reading or on the computer.


Keratoconus is a thinning disorder of the cornea, the clear window that we see through, that causes visual distortions. Most patients are followed closely and treated with custom Rigid Gas Permeable contact lenses. In some cases patients do go on to need a corneal transplant.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is an age related condition in which our most sensitive part of our vision starts to break down. This makes it very difficult to drive or recognize faces. This condition is the leading cause of vision loss in patients over 65 years of age. It is very important that patients over this age and with family history of this condition get regular eye exams from their eye doctor. Modern developments in treatments are very effective, but it is imperative that the condition be diagnosed early.


Myopia is often termed nearsightedness, is a common vision condition affection about one in three Americans. People with this refractive error often can see things at near well but have trouble seeing things far away.

Sun Glasses

Sunglasses can add an element of comfort and enhanced performance to your activities. For example, drivers often prefer amber colored lenses, many golfers utilize green colored lenses to enhance their game, and hunters often utilize yellow (blue blocker) lenses. Just like sunblock protects our skin when outdoors, our sunglasses protect our eyes and our vision from harmful UVA and UVB radiation. Kids spend so much time outdoors in direct sunlight; they need sun protection even more than adults. In fact, some experts say that we get up to 80% of our lifetime exposure of solar (UV) radiation by the time we are 18 years old.

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