Ophthalmology Associates

Glossary of Eye Terms

Acuity - Clarity, as in "visual acuity."

Antibiotic medication - A drug used to treat or prevent infection. Your doctor may prescribe this type of medication.

Anti-inflammatory medication - A drug that reduces inflammation or the body's reaction to injury or disease.

Astigmatism - A condition of the eye that results in blurred vision. The cornea and lens focus the light rays at different points in front of or behind the retina. The different points of focus create a blur.

Autoimmune disease - A condition in which the body attacks itself. Examples of this condition are multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis.

Bandage contact lens - A soft contact lens placed on the cornea after an injury or after some surgical procedure, corneal abrasion, and other injuries or medical conditions.

Blepharitis -An inflammation that affects the eyelids. Blepharitis usually involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow.

Cataract - A cloudiness of the cyrstalin lens of the eye resulting in a partial loss of vision.

Contraindication - Any special condition that results in treatment being inadvisable.

Cornea - The transparent front of the eye.

Corneal abrasion - A scratch in the outer layer of the cornea, often from an injury to the eye or often from a contact lens.

Corneal endothelium - The inner layer of cells on the inside surface of the cornea.

Corneal epithelium - The outer surface layer of the cornea.

Corneal infiltrate - Inflammation of the cornea.

Corneal topography - Mapping of the surface details of the cornea with a unique camera/computer combination. The corneal topographical map is a color display of the surface profile of the cornea. This information is used to follow the progress of a corneal disorder or help plan surgical procedures or fit a contact lens.

Diopter - A unit which measures the amount of a refractive error. Glasses and contacts are prescribed in diopters.

Farsightedness - Hyperopia. A condition of the eye that most commonly results in blurred close vision although moderate to severe hyperopia may also result in blurred distant vision. The cornea and lens focus light rays from objects behind the retina.

Floaters - Floaters are actually debris within the vitreous, which is a jelly like substance that fills the eye. They may be seen as bugs, gnats, strings, spots or spider webs that are a variety of shapes and sizes. These visually aggravating objects appear to be in the front of your vision but are actually floating in this fluid and casting shadows on the retina.

Halos - Circular flares or rings of light that may appear around a headlight or other lighted object. This symptom may occur with early cataracts, elevated pressure in the eye, or with eye infections.

Herpes simplex - A type of infection caused by a virus that can recur, and can cause cold sores or eye infections.

Herpes zoster - A type of infection caused by a different virus often called, "shingles". This condition is a reactivation of the chicken pox virus as an adult.

Hyperopia - Farsightedness, (see above).

Inflammation - The body's reaction to injury, disease, or surgery. Most medications used after surgery is to control inflammation.

Iris - The colored part of the eye located behind the cornea.

Iritis - Inflammation of the iris and associated structures in the eye.

Intralase - Intralase uses computer technology fed to the laser to create a corneal flap in the LASIK procedure. Intralase totes more precision, accuracy and safety than traditional LASIK.

Keratectomy - Surgical removal of any portion of the cornea.

Keratoconus - An abnormality of the eye where the cornea becomes deformed in the shape of a cone. People who have this condition cannot have laser refractive surgery.

Laser - An acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

LASIK - An acronym for Laser in Situ Keratomileusis. A refractive laser correction procedure where a partial flap of surface cornea is created to form a hinge. The flap is folded back and the excimer laser reshapes the underlying corneal tissue to correct the refractive error. The flap is then replaced.

Lens - Also called the crystalline lens. The transparent part of the eye located behind the iris that helps to focus light into images on the retina. A cataract is the loss of transparency of the lens.

Lens Implant - The tiny lens placed in the eye following cataract removal. This lens can be monofocal or multifocal.

Macular Degeneration - Usually a condition of central vision loss associated with aging (A.R.M.D.).

Monovision - Optical correction of one eye so that it sees clearly in the distance, while the other eye sees clearly up close. Usually with contact lens, but can be done with a lens implant following cataract surgery.

Myopia - Nearsightedness. A condition of the eye that most commonly results in blurred distant vision, although moderate to severe myopia may also result in blurred close vision. The cornea and lens focus light rays from a distant object in front of the retina.

Nearsighted - Myopia. A condition of the eye that most commonly results in blurred distant vision, although moderate to severe myopia may also result in blurred close vision. The cornea and lens focus light rays from a distant object in front of the retina.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) - A type of drug that reduces inflammation, not a steroid. Reduces inflammation following eye surgery and certain eye infections.

Ocular Rosacea - An inflammation of the eye that occurs as a result of rosacea, a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects the skin on your face, nose and forehead. Many people with skin rosacea develop ocular rosacea, usually in combination with skin symptoms, but occasionally ocular rosacea occurs by itself.

Ophthalmologist - A medical doctor (physician and surgeon) who specializes in the medical and surgical management of all types of eye disorders.

Optician - An expert in the art and science of making and fitting glasses.

Optometrist - An eye care specialist who specializes in the measurement of refractive disorders of the eye and the fitting and dispensing of contact lenses and glasses. Many optometrists have a therapeutic certification to treat some eye disorders.

Presbyopia - A condition occurring most commonly in people over the age of 40, where the eye can no longer accommodate for near or "reading" vision. The crystalline lens of the eye loses its elasticity. The individual is no longer able to read clearly and requires reading glasses.

PRK - Abbreviation for Photo Refractive Keratectomy. A common type of laser vision correction procedure. PRK ablates the surface of the cornea while LASIK differs in that it ablates under a flap of corneal tissue that is replaced once the laser has completed the treatment.

Pupil - The opening in the center of the iris of the eye.

Radial keratotomy - A refractive corrective procedure where radial cuts are made in the outer portions of the cornea, like spokes of a wheel, to flatten this area. This procedure was popular in the 80's and early 90's, it has been replaced by LASIK and PRK.

Retina - The light-sensitive nerve layer in the back of the eye that receives and transmits visual stimuli to the brain.

Starbursts - Flares of light seen around a lighted object that may appear like a star. This symptom is similar to halos and glare seen with early cataracts and some forms of glaucoma.

Steroids - Drugs used to counteract inflammation in many eye disorders and following many surgical procedures.

Topography - A map detailing the profile of the surface details of the cornea to assist in laser vision correction and contact lens fitting.

Wavefront - Wavefront technology used in laser surgery (LASIK) and in some lens implants to correct minor distortions in vision (high order aberrations); measures the eye from front to back to create a three-dimensional corneal map. The Wavefront map then transmits this information to the laser, allowing virtually no room for error and increasing your chances of achieving 20/20 vision or better.