Sep 13

Eye Conditions that Develop in the Teenage Years

Posted on September 13, 2018 — by Eric Del Piero

Group of teenagersPeople rely on their eyes to perform nearly all of their day-to-day functions, so it is important to routinely monitor eye health. Professional eye care, including comprehensive eye exams, is the best way to preserve the health and function of the eyes, as well as diagnose any potential eye problems.

At Monterey County Eye Associates, our experienced eye doctors offer a comprehensive range of eye care services, including treatment for common eye conditions.

Many people mistakenly assume that eye conditions will either be obvious at birth, or will not develop until much later in life when a person has reached his or her senior years. Because of this assumption, some patients neglect professional eye care throughout their childhood and adolescence.

But, there are actually multiple eye conditions that can develop in the teenage years, so we encourage our Monterey, CA patients to make professional eye care a priority through all stages of life. Here, we discuss some of the most common conditions that affect our teenage patients.

Vision Impairment

Vision impairment can develop at any stage of life, and it is not unusual to see teenagers who suddenly have difficulty seeing clearly. The most common type of vision impairment that develops in teenagers is nearsightedness, or myopia.

When a patient has myopia, he or she will not be able to clearly focus on objects that are in the distant range of sight. This condition is often diagnosed when teenagers complain that they can’t see the board in school.

Although myopia is often a hereditary condition, it can also be caused by excessive screen time or consistently reading small print. The best way to treat myopia, or any form of vision impairment, in teenagers is with prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Dry Eyes

Most people experience the occasional bout of dry eyes, but when the eyes consistently lack lubrication, it can have a serious impact on the overall health and function of the eyes.

We are seeing more and more teens diagnosed with dry eyes, most likely as a result of increased screen time. To avoid damage caused by dry eye syndrome, teenagers can use artificial eye drops. It is also best to reduce screen time as much as possible, or take frequent breaks when using a computer, playing on the phone, or watching TV.

Stargardt Disease

Stargardt disease is the juvenile form of macular degeneration. When this condition is present, proteins build up behind the eye and block nutrients and waste from passing to and from the macula, which is the center part of the retina.

Stargardt disease is a genetic condition that begins to show signs during the teenage years. As the disease progresses, central vision can suffer and patients will gradually lose the ability to make out fine details.

Although there is no cure for Stargardt disease, patients can undergo treatment to slow the progression of this condition and preserve their eyesight.

Photokeratitis

Photokeratitis is eye damage that results from UV exposure. This condition can be rather painful, and causes the eyes to appear red. Other symptoms include light sensitivity, headaches, and the appearance of halos in the vision.

This condition is essentially a sunburn of the eyes, and should resolve on its own within a few days. To avoid photokeratitis and long-term damage from UV rays, teenagers should wear sunglasses whenever they are outdoors.

Schedule an Appointment

Whether you are concerned about the health of your teenager’s eyes, or would simply like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to ensure that eye health remains a priority, the experienced team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates is here to help. Call us at (831) 372-1500 to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

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