Eye Health Glossary: A Comprehensive A-Z Guide to Understanding Your Vision (Part 2: N-Z)

Welcome to Part 2 of our comprehensive Eye Health Glossary: A-Z Guide to Understanding Your Vision with Zenni. In this installment, we continue our journey through essential terms and conditions that affect your vision, from N to Z. Whether you’re learning about common eye disorders or seeking insights into eye care solutions, this guide aims to empower you with knowledge to maintain clear and comfortable eyesight. Be sure to click here for part 1! 

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Photo by Leah Newhouse

N: Nearsightedness (Myopia)

Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a common refractive error where close-up objects are seen clearly, but distant objects appear blurry. This occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, causing light to focus in front of the retina rather than on it. Corrective lenses or refractive surgery can help correct myopia.

O: Optic Nerve

The optic nerve transmits visual information from the retina to the brain, allowing us to perceive sight. Damage to the optic nerve, such as in glaucoma, can lead to vision loss or blindness.

P: Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a condition that typically occurs around age 40, where the lens of the eye loses flexibility, making it difficult to focus on close-up objects. It is a normal part of aging and is corrected with reading glasses, bifocals, or multifocal contact lenses.

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Q: Quality of Vision: Refractive Error

A refractive error occurs when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Common types include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia.

R: Retina

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. It converts light into neural signals that are sent to the brain via the optic nerve, allowing us to see. Conditions affecting the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, can cause vision loss.

S: Strabismus

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is a condition where the eyes do not align properly, causing one eye to look straight ahead while the other turns inward, outward, upward, or downward. It can lead to depth perception issues and may be corrected with glasses, vision therapy, or surgery.

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Photo by Ksenia Chernaya

T: Tonometry

Tonometry is a test that measures intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye, which is important in diagnosing and monitoring glaucoma. It helps assess the risk of optic nerve damage and vision loss associated with elevated IOP.

U: Uveitis

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye that includes the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. It can be caused by infection, injury, or autoimmune diseases, leading to eye redness, pain, blurred vision, and light sensitivity.

V: Visual Acuity

Visual acuity refers to the sharpness of vision or the clarity of seeing details. It is typically measured using an eye chart, such as the Snellen chart, and is expressed as a fraction (e.g., 20/20 vision).

W: Watery Eyes (Epiphora)

Watery eyes, or epiphora, occur when there is an overflow of tears onto the face, often due to excessive tear production, blocked tear ducts, or irritation. It can be a symptom of allergies, infections, or other underlying eye conditions.

Photo of Xanthelasma

Photo from Optometry Today

X: Xanthelasma

Xanthelasma are yellowish deposits of cholesterol underneath the skin around the eyes. They are typically soft and flat and may indicate high cholesterol levels. While benign, they can be removed for cosmetic reasons. To learn more about how your eyes can provide invaluable insights into your overall health, click here.

Y: YAG Laser Capsulotomy

YAG laser capsulotomy is a laser procedure used to treat posterior capsular opacification, a common complication following cataract surgery. It involves using a laser to create an opening in the cloudy capsule behind the lens implant, restoring clear vision.

Z: Zonules

Zonules are tiny fibers that suspend the lens within the eye. They attach the lens to the ciliary body and play a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina for clear vision.

By recognizing symptoms, understanding treatments, and taking proactive steps towards optimal eye care, you can ensure long-term vision health and maintain clear, comfortable sight throughout your life. Remember, your vision is invaluable, and regular eye exams are key to maintaining its health and clarity. Be sure to check out Part 1 of this series and continue your journey towards better eye health with Zenni.

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Alyssa Buchanan

Dr. Alyssa Buchanan is an optometrist based in Lubbock, Texas. She received her doctorate from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, and has practiced in various settings including Fort Cavazos where she provided eye care for deploying soldiers. Dr. Buchanan has since received her Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration and continues to strive to provide top-notch eyecare and make a meaningful impact in the eyecare industry.