The Most Common Eye Conditions: Causes and Solutions

22 December 2022

Author: Kate Green

common eye conditions

There are a huge number of eye conditions which can cause discomfort and affect your vision, ranging from issues with your lenses, to infections, to refractive errors. Thankfully, most eye conditions, if detected and treated promptly, are unlikely to cause permanent damage to your vision. We’re going to look at five of the most common eye conditions, and their causes and treatments. We offer treatment for all of these conditions at Ultralase, should you find yourself dealing with any symptoms caused by them.



What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a very common eye condition, with around 400,000 cataract removal procedures each year performed in England. Globally, 18 million cataract removal procedures are carried out and such a huge number of people affected highlights the true scale of the condition. The symptoms of cataracts are:


  • Cloudy vision
  • Blurry vision
  • Faded colour vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Deteriorating night vision
  • Halos around bright lights


Cataracts occur naturally as part of the ageing process and are the leading cause of blindness globally. As you age, proteins in your eye begin to clump together, leading to clouding in your eye’s natural lens. This begins to impair your vision and grows progressively worse. Eventually, if left untreated, it can result in total impairment of vision and blindness.


There are a number of risk factors which increase your likelihood of developing cataracts, including:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Overexposure to UV rays
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure


However, cataracts can occur in anyone, regardless of whether or not the risk factors above apply to you. Susceptibility to cataracts can also be genetic, so you should be especially aware of any changes to your vision if you have a family history of cataracts.



The only treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery. This is a very simple procedure which can be performed on an outpatient basis and completed in just 20 minutes. The surgeon will break up the cataract inside your eye using ultrasound vibrations, before suctioning it out. An artificial lens is then inserted into your eye, providing clear vision once again.


Recovery after cataract surgery varies from person to person. However, most of our patients require around a week off work after cataract surgery. This allows your eyes to rest and heal properly, and also ensures that you have reached a good level of vision before returning to daily tasks. However, most patients do experience improvement in vision within a couple of days.



What is blepharitis?

Blepharitis is a very common eye condition which involves your eyes becoming inflamed. This may lead to soreness and crusting at the base of your eyelashes, resulting in discomfort and, in the most severe cases, blurred vision. Some people may also experience swelling around the eye area with blepharitis. Symptoms of blepharitis include:

  • Itchiness
  • Gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Soreness around the eyelids
  • Crusting at the base of eyelashes
  • Eyelids sticking together after sleep
  • Discharge from eye


In most cases, blepharitis is caused by the clogging of the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes. If you have too much bacteria on your eyelids or between your eyelashes, that can also lead to infections, resulting in blepharitis. People who have eczema or acne are typically more susceptible to developing blepharitis, as well as people with dandruff (as the skin can flake off the scalp and sit on the lash line, triggering infection). Any allergies to cosmetics or products you use can also bring on blepharitis, as can exposure to chemical fumes or smoky environments.


Thankfully, the treatments for blepharitis are straightforward and the condition itself isn’t particularly serious or sight-threatening – just uncomfortable. We offer treatment for blepharitis at Ultralase in the form of MiBo Thermoflo™. This is a painless procedure involving ultrasound gel being applied to your eyelids and gently massaged with a warm wand. This not only soothes your eyes and encourages natural lubrication with tears, but the process unblocks your clogged oil glands and tear ducts. You can read more about blepharitis treatment on our website here, or give us a call on 0800 988 6390 if you have any further questions.



What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a degenerative eye condition, resulting in your cornea becoming thinner over time. Your cornea begins to bulge forwards into a cone shape, becoming thinner. This leads to your vision distorting and deteriorating, with little visual improvement provided by glasses and contact lenses in the more advanced stages of the condition. Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Glare around bright lights
  • Unstable glasses prescription
  • Clouding of vision


Keratoconus is thought to be genetic with your risk of developing it much higher if you have a family history of it. It can also be caused by excessive eye rubbing so, if you have allergies such as hay fever and are prone to rubbing your eyes, it can also be a trigger for keratoconus. It typically occurs in childhood and adolescence, usually stabilising by your 20s or 30s.


At Ultralase, we offer a treatment for keratoconus in the form of corneal cross-linking (CXL).  CXL prevents the advancement of keratoconus, meaning that it is particularly ideal for patients who have been diagnosed early on in the process. It is only suitable for patients who have progressive keratoconus where the condition is active and worsening and it can’t repair any previous corneal damage.


CXL uses a combination of Riboflavin (vitamin B) drops as well as ultraviolet light that is encouraged to react with the collagen fibres in your cornea. This creates more cross links with the cornea, replicating natural corneal stiffening, thereby stabilising keratoconus. We aim to ensure that the progression of keratoconus is slowly halted as the cornea gets stronger. You can read more about keratoconus and CXL treatment at Ultralase here.


Vision Issues

What is it and what causes it?

74% of people in the UK have some kind of refractive error requiring them to rely on glasses or contact lenses, or to have sought out corrective eye surgery like laser treatment. If you need glasses, it is because your eye is either too long or too short to focus light directly on the retina, which is at the back of your eye. If your eye is too short, you will struggle to see things clearly beyond your near vision as your eye’s focal point is in front of your retina. This means you are short-sighted (also known as myopic). If your eye is too long, your vision in the distance is typically good, while you struggle with your nearer vision and seeing objects close up. This leaves you long-sighted (also known as hyperopic).


On top of having either myopia or hyperopia (or sometimes both as each eye can have a different prescription!), you may also have astigmatism. Astigmatism affects around half of people in the UK who wear glasses or contact lenses and it occurs simply because your eye is closer to a rugby ball shape than a round football shape. This causes light to refract differently, resulting in distorted or blurry vision. The right glasses or contact lenses can help to correct this, but everyone’s astigmatism is different, depending on the curve of the eyeball.



Glasses and contact lenses are some of the most common solutions for refractive errors as they are a simple, quick fix to help your eyes focus light and images correctly, providing clear vision. However, glasses and contact lenses can also bring a number of inconveniences and hassles, such as contact lens infections, glasses fogging up, or simply getting lost or broken. This is often what leads people to seek out surgical alternatives.


We offer a number of vision correction procedures at Ultralase to help you live life without glasses, including:


If you would like to learn more about whether or not you’re suitable for treatment, you can:


Cosmetic Eye Conditions

What is it?

Cosmetic eye surgery is the name given to a group of surgical procedures which are carried out with the purpose of altering the appearance of the skin around the eye. Typically, excess skin, muscle and fat is removed from around the eyes, either on the upper or lower eyelids – or sometimes both – in order to reduce the appearance of puffy and drooping skin.



As you age, the skin loses its elasticity. This is what creates the appearance of excess skin around the eyes and it typically worsens as the years go by. Some lumps, bumps and skin tags may also form on the eyelids as you age, which are often chalazia. While these typically do not impair your vision or cause discomfort, most people who have them removed do so for cosmetic reasons.



We offer upper and lower blepharoplasties at Ultralase to remove excess skin, fat and muscle from around your eyelids. Blepharoplasty typically takes 1-2 hours to carry out, depending on how extensive the surgery is. Upper blepharoplasty removes excess skin from puffy or drooping upper eyelids, while lower blepharoplasty eliminates eye bags and puffiness underneath the eyes.


Cosmetic eye surgery is performed under a local anaesthetic and involves small incisions being made along your natural lash line in order for the surgeon to remove excess skin or fat. Most blepharoplasty patients feel ready to return to their usual routine and activities around 7-10 days after cosmetic eye surgery.


You can find out more about cosmetic eye surgery options at Ultralase here, or give us a call on 0800 988 6390 for further information.

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