VisionDirect - Eye & Vision Problems
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Eye & Vision Problems

You can use this tool to see through the eyes of someone who has
problems with their vision and learn more about what can cause these issues.

Remember to visit your optician at least once every two years to
catch any problems early and keep your eyes healthy and clear.


Start now

The Eye
Cornea
Lens
Retina

Normal Vision

See the world with normal vision

When you look at something, light rays are actually reflecting back off that object and into your cornea. This is the clear front of your eye ball which naturally bends the light and allows it to easily pass through the pupil, which your iris will expand and contract depending on how much light there is.

Once through, the light will pass through the eye's crystalline lens. This works in the same way a camera's lens would, shortening and lengthening its width to properly focus the light rays to a point exactly on the eye's retina. At this point the image is actually upside down, but your brain will reinterpret the image for you and allow you to see the world the right way up.

Check out our Human Eye Tool for an in depth look at how we see.

The Eye
Focus in front of
the retina

Myopia

See the world with myopia

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is the most common eye problem in the world and can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Those with Myopia will be able to clearly see anything up close, however objects further in the distance will appear blurry and out of focus. This is usually caused by the eyeball being too long or the cornea being more steeply curved.

When light from an object hits an eye with Myopia, it is bent too much as it moves through the cornea. Close up this isn't too much of a problem, but the light from distant objects will focus before it hits the retina and appear blurry or fuzzy to the brain.

The Eye
Focus behind
the retina

Hyperopia

See the world with hyperopia

Hyperopia, or longsightedness, is very similar to myopia and just as easily treated with glasses or contact lenses. Those with Hyperopia can usually see things at a distance clearly, however objects closer up start to become blurred and out of focus. This is often caused by the eyeball being too short or the cornea being too flat.

When light hits an eye with Hyperopia, it isn't bent enough as it passes through the cornea. This often means that the point the light would focus is beyond the retina, and the brain only receives an image that seems blurry or fuzzy.

The Eye
Focus points
Focus points

Astigmatism

See the world with astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common eye problem that occurs when the eye's cornea or lens isn't a perfectly curved football shape. Some people are born with a cornea that's shaped more like a rugby ball, which causes light rays to enter their pupil at an odd angle and never quite focus properly on the retina.

Astigmatism can be split up into two types. Regular Astigmatism is where the cornea is curved more in one direction than the other, and can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Irregular astigmatism is where the cornea is curved in multiple directions, which makes it harder to correct with glasses however contact lenses can often be a good solution. Irregular astigmatism is usually caused by an accident or the result of a complication during an eye operation.

The Eye
Focus behind
the retina

Presbyopia

See the world with presbyopia

Presbyopia is an age related eye condition that effects most people after the age of 40. Even if they've never had any eye problems before, after 40 people usually find they need to hold books, magazines or menus at arm's length before they can focus on the words properly.

As eyes age, they gradually become less elastic and more rigid. This makes it harder for the lens inside your eye to expand and contract properly, so focusing light exactly on your retina becomes a lot more difficult. Because this will continue as you get older, it's important to regularly visit an optician to ensure your prescription hasn't changed.

The Eye
Light scattered
across the retina

Cataracts

See the world with cataracts

A cataract is when the lens in your eye begins to cloud over, blocking any light from reaching your retina. It's one of the leading causes of blindness in the world, however it can often be removed with a relatively simple surgery.

The lens in your eye is mostly made up of water and protein, which is arranged in a way that keeps the lens completely clear and allows light to pass through. As you age, some of that protein can clump up together and start to cloud up an area of the lens. This cloud of protein can slowly increase in size, making it harder and harder to see through.

The Eye
Cone
Rod

Colour blindness

Colour blindness effects about 1 in 12 men and approximately 1 in 200 women, although total colour blindness is extremely rare. Your retina is made up of two types of cells; rods and cones. Rods detect light and dark, whereas cones detect colour and are separated into red, green and blue. If just one of these cones stops working, you'll begin to see the world around you very differently.

See the world with achromatopsia

Achromatopsia, or total colour blindness, is extremely rare. Because none of the cones are functioning correctly the world only appears in shades of grey. However, depending on the severity of the condition, some very light shades of colour might shine through.

See the world with protanopia

Those with Protanomaly, or Protanopia, have a lot of difficulty telling the difference between red and green. Because the brain isn't receiving any signals from red cones, even colours that simply contain red are altered. For instance purple would instead become blue.

See the world with deuteranopia

Those with Deuteranomaly, or Deuteranopia, have a reduced sensitivity to green light, as the brain isn't receiving any signals from the eye's green cones. This makes it easy to confuse reds with greens, greens with yellows and pale pinks with light greys.

The Eye
Muscles

Strabismus

See the world with strabismus

Strabismus is a condition that prevents a person from looking at the same point with both eyes at once. This usually involves the muscles that control the eye not working together properly, causing the eyes not to line up or work as a team together.

Because one eye is looking in the wrong place, people with strabismus can have problems with double vision or eye strain. To prevent this, the brain will often start ignoring one eye altogether. This can cause depth perception issues although someone who has had the condition since childhood will often be able to work out depth and distances by other means.

The Eye
Aqueous
humour
Optical nerve

Glaucoma

See the world with glaucoma

Glaucoma is actually a group of different eye conditions which affect the optic nerve. This nerve is the main connection from your eye to your brain, so if it gets damaged it becomes a lot harder for your brain to build a picture of what you're seeing. This results in misty or patchy vision which could grow worse over time.

The eyeball contains a fluid called aqueous humour which is constantly produced by the eye, with any excess drained away via channels. Glaucoma occurs when these channels become blocked, causing a lot of pressure to build up from all the extra fluid and damaging the surrounding nerves.

The Eye
Macula

Macular degeneration

See the world with macular degeneration

Age related macular degeneration usually affects people over 60 and can be almost unnoticeable at first. The macular is the part of your eye responsible for your central vision, or what you see when you focus straight ahead. As this starts to become less and less effective it becomes more difficult to see objects directly in front of you.

There are two main types of macular degeneration, dry AMD and wet AMD. Dry AMD is the most common type, and is caused by a build-up of deposits called drusen slowly damaging your eye.

Wet AMD is less common but more serious than dry AMD. This develops when blood vessels form underneath the macular and damage its cells. Without treatment, wet AMD can cause your vision to become much worse much faster.

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