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Helping you get your head around eye health

At EyeQ Optometrists, we take the time to explain any eye conditions you may have, as well as treatment options available to you.

Most Australians (76%) say vision is their most important sense however we also know that more than a third (35%) do not undertake regular eye examinations1.

Routine eye tests can help uncover both eye health issues as well as broader issues around general health.

If you have noticed any changes to your eyesight, have a family history of eye disease or are simply due for an eye test, please make an appointment to see your local optometrist.

1Good Vision For Life, Optometry Australia, 2022 Vision Index Report.

Eye Conditions and Disorders

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is a neuro-developmental condition in which vision does not develop adequately in one eye. Amblyopia may be caused by any condition that affects normal visual development or use of the eyes including an eye turn, uncorrected refractive error, or ocular pathology which blocks light from reaching the retina such as a cataract. In each of these cases, the brain chooses to ignore the image produced by the affected eye (known as suppression), which inhibits the growth and development of the nerve fibers of the affected eye. Most children adapt well to seeing through one eye, so many parents are unaware that the child has a problem and the condition often goes undiagnosed. All children are recommended to have a thorough eye examination before they start school.


Astigmatism is a condition in which the shape of the cornea – the clear window at the front of the eye – is unequal in different directions. A useful analogy is to compare the shape of a soccer ball with a rugby or AFL ball. A soccer ball is spherical in shape with equal curvatures in all meridians. The surface of a rugby or AFL ball on the other hand, has different curvatures in the horizontal and vertical meridians i.e. the horizontal meridian is flatter, whilst the vertical meridian is steeper. The shape of a normal cornea typically resembles the shape of a soccer ball whereas an astigmatic cornea can be likened to the shape of a rugby or AFL ball. Symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, fatigue, eyestrain, as well as distorted or blurred vision. Read our full article on Astigmatism here.


Blepharitis is a common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis is often associated with overgrowth of bacteria or a parasite known as demodex on the eyelashes or eyelid margins. Blepharitis can affect people of all ages and is often associated with certain skin conditions including acne, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. Common signs and symptoms of blepharitis include chronic irritation, redness of the eyelid margins and crusting of the eyelashes (particularly in the morning).


Cataract is a condition which causes clouding of the clear lens in the eye and is one of the leading causes of vision impairment. Cataracts can be congenital yet more commonly occur with age as the focusing lens in the eye becomes progressively less clear, disrupting the flow of light through the eye and onto the retina. Cataracts are generally slowly progressive but certain types of cataracts can progress more quickly. Common symptoms of cataract include blurred vision, sensitivity to glare and distorted or double vision. Read our full article on Cataracts here.

Colour Vision Deficiencies (CVDs)

Colour vision deficiencies (CVD) (sometimes called colour blindness) represent a group of conditions that affect the perception of colour. Red-green colour vision defects are the most common form of colour vision deficiency.

CVDs are almost always inherited in an X-linked recessive pattern, although they can be acquired as a result of particular diseases and injuries. Males are affected by X-linked recessive disorders much more frequently than females since males have only one X chromosome and females have two, both X chromosomes on a female would have to have a genetic change in order to cause the disorder.

Males inherit their X chromosome from their mother and their Y chromosome from their father. Therefore, if a mother is a carrier of a CVD on one of her two X chromosomes, her son has a 50/50 chance of inheriting a CVD. Since females have two X chromosomes, one from the mother and one from the father they have less of a chance of being affected. About 8% (1 in 12) of males and 0.5% (1 in 200) of females have CVDs.

CVDs affect the ability to discriminate between certain colours such as red and green. A person with a CVD will try to discriminate colour differences by using other cues such as brightness differences. CVDs often do not impair quality of life but can affect career choices where colour discrimination is important for safety reasons.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes where the tiny blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye become damaged and begin to leak blood and other fluids, which can lead to vision loss.

Most people, who have suffered from diabetes for over 20 years, will have some degree of retinopathy (nearly all patients with Type 1 diabetes and 58% of patients with Type 2 diabetes).

Early signs of diabetic retinopathy include small haemorrhages and microaneurysms appearing in the retina. In later stages, excessive microvascular leakage can cause swelling at the macular (the region of the retina responsible for all detailed central vision).

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blur or loss of vision. For diabetics, strict control of blood sugar levels is essential in preventing the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy, please book an appointment with your local EyeQ Optometrist to discuss further.

i Hietala K, Harjutsalo V, Forsblom C, Summanen P, Groop PH; FinnDiane Study Group. Age at onset and the risk of proliferative retinopathy in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(6):1315–1319. doi:10.2337/dc09-2278
Dry Eye

Dry eye is a common condition, which affects one in four people worldwide and is more likely to occur in women and the elderly. Symptoms of dry eye include burning, scratching, irritation, redness and watering of the eye, as well as blurred vision. Although dry eye is generally not a sight-threatening condition, it can cause significant discomfort for sufferers. Dry eye can be caused by insufficient tear production from the lacrimal gland or an unstable lipid layer, which is the thin oily layer on the outer most part of the tear film. Read our full article on Dry Eye here.


Floaters are deposits of natural materials that are present within the eye’s vitreous humour. The vitreous humour is a clear jelly located inside the eye that is attached to the retina. Floaters typically increase in number as we age, however they may also be caused by disease or injury. Floaters are visible because of the shadows they cast on the retina. Common symptoms of floaters include the appearance of spots, threads, fragments or cobwebs, floating slowly in the visual field.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please book an eye test with your local EyeQ Optometrist.

Floaters are generally harmless yet can be associated with retinal holes or tears which can increase the risk of developing a retinal detachment. Anyone who notices the sudden onset of floaters is recommended to have a Dilated Fundus Examination (DFE) performed where eye drops are instilled in the eye to dilate (expand) the pupil. A dilation allows the optometrist to see to the very edge of the retina where retinal holes and tears commonly develop.


Glaucoma is an eye condition which is characterised by damage to the optic nerve and retina, causing progressive vision loss. Glaucoma is often, but not always, associated with increased pressure of the fluid in the eye (aqueous humour). Glaucoma has few to no symptoms in the early stages; it is not until the condition is more advanced does the sufferer become aware of vision loss.

If you have any concerns about Glaucoma, please book an appointment with your local EyeQ Optometrist to discuss further.

i Kuang TM et al. Ophthalmology 2015. Oct;122(10):2002-9.doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.06.015. Epub 2015 Jul
Hyperopia (Long-sightedness)

Hyperopia, also known as long-sightedness, refers to a refractive condition where the focusing power of the eyeball is too weak in relation to the length of the eye. Hyperopia develops as a result of the visual image being focused behind the retina rather than directly on it.

Hyperopic people must exert extra effort to bring their near vision into sharp, clear focus. Symptoms may include; blurriness when reading, eyestrain, fatigue and or headaches after sustained close work and difficulty adjusting focus. Higher degrees of hyperopia can also affect distance vision especially with increasing age. Read our full article on Hyperopia here.


Keratoconus is a condition which causes the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye to become progressively thinner. As a result of this thinning, the normally round shape of the cornea becomes distorted and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment. A useful analogy is to compare the shapes of an orange with a pear. The average person has a spherical shaped cornea like an orange whereas a person with keratoconus has a bulge, generally in the lower region of the cornea much like a pear. Keratoconus is typically diagnosed in the patient’s adolescent years and may progress until the patient is in their twenties and thirties.

If you have any concerns about Keratoconus, please book an appointment with your local EyeQ Optometrist to discuss further.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition that causes progressive macular damage resulting in loss of central vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in Australia with 1 in 7 people over the age of 50 affected to some degree, while incidences increase with age*.

The macular is the central part of the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye which processes all central visual images. It enables us to read, recognise faces, drive safely and see colours clearly.

Common symptoms of macular degeneration include distorted or blurred vision, the need to use greater amounts of light to read and central vision loss.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please book an appointment with your local EyeQ Optometrist to discuss further.

*Source: Macular Disease Foundation.

Myopia (Short-sightedness)

Myopia is also known as short-sightedness and is a refractive condition, which causes blurred distance vision. Myopia develops as a result of the visual image being focused in front of the retina rather than directly on it. Myopia is caused by the eyeball being too long or the focusing power of the eye being too strong.

Symptoms of myopia include squinting, as well as blurred distance vision. This may be more obvious when viewing the television or trying to read signs while driving.

While the exact cause of myopia is unknown, it is believed to be a combination of nature (genetics) and nurture (environment). Repeated near work i.e. reading, computer and device use has been shown to increase the risk of developing myopia.


Presbyopia is a condition that impairs the ability to focus on objects up close. Symptoms of presbyopia are usually noticed in one’s forties and fifties and include eyestrain, difficulty seeing in dim light and problems focusing on small objects and/or fine print. Presbyopia is a normal ageing condition that develops due to hardening of the crystalline lens inside the eye, which is responsible for focusing on near objects. Read our full article on Presbyopia here.


Pterygium is a wing-shaped growth of vascular tissue which occurs commonly on the nasal side of the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye. Pterygium is most commonly caused by ultraviolet (UV) damage but can be exacerbated by windy and dusty conditions. While many pterygia remain stable over time, some grow onto the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) resulting in blurred or distorted vision.

Pterygia can be prevented by wearing sunglasses or protective eyewear particularly in the first two decades of life.


Our contact lens provider Alcon is experiencing delays fulfilling orders due to a cyber-security incident involving their freight partner, Toll Group. These delays are across their entire network of optical retailers in Australia. We apologise for an inconvenience caused and encourage you to contact your local EyeQ practice for any urgent requirements.