Common Eye Problems Explained: What They Are, Symptoms & MoreAlthough most eye conditions cause symptoms such as blurring of vision or eye discomfort, some eye diseases are asymptomatic. A classic example is glaucoma where patients may not experience any symptoms or disturbance of their visual field until the disease is advanced. If left undetected, the nerve damage done cannot be reversed even with treatment. It is, therefore, vital that we do not take our sight for granted and ensure that we have regular eye check-ups to pick up any problems early. Here are some common eye problems in children and adults that you should know about.




What is myopia?

Myopia, also known as short-sightedness, is a common refractive error affecting many children in Singapore. It is reported that more than 50% of children in Singapore develop myopia by the age of 12. Myopia occurs when the eye focuses light in front of the retina instead of precisely on the retina. A cornea with a steep curve can also cause myopia.


Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of short-sightedness in children can be recognised when they are squinting or have difficulty seeing the whiteboard or screen from a distance. If you suspect your child of having myopia, consult an eye specialist doctor to get advice on myopic control.

Refractive errors are typically corrected with spectacles or contact lenses, though permanent vision corrections are available at a later age. While children can still see clearly with glasses, it is important to monitor the condition as the child may develop high degrees of myopia if left unchecked. Myopia control measures such as the use of low dose atropine eyedrop medication or the use of Ortho-K lenses may be considered in children with high risk of developing severe myopia.




What is epiblepharon?

Epiblepharon is a condition where excess skin along the eyelid margins causes the eyelashes to turn inwards and touch the cornea. The friction from the lashes brushing against the cornea can cause discomfort and other symptoms. This eye condition is typically seen in children of Oriental descent.


Symptoms & Treatment

The most common symptoms of this condition are itch and redness in the eyes. Children with this condition may frequently blink or rub their eyes. Many parents may dismiss the rubbing of eyes as a bad habit, but if you notice that the eye rubbing is persistent, it would be good to check for this condition.

Treatment for epiblepharon depends on the severity of the condition and the risk of corneal damage. Mild cases may not require surgery as children may grow out of this condition. Surgery may be required for more severe cases where a small amount of excess tissues is removed and the lashes rotated outwards.




What are cataracts?

Cataracts refer to opacities in the eye’s natural lens which result in blurred vision. The clouding of the lens disturbs the transmission and focus of light onto the retina.


Symptoms & Treatment

Cataracts typically occur in older patients above the age of 50 years old but may be seen in younger individuals. Symptoms include deterioration of vision that cannot be improved with a change in spectacles, double vision; and increased sensitivity to light or glare.

When cataracts start to affect normal daily function, cataract treatment in Singapore can be considered. Cataract surgery has now advanced to the point where it is routinely performed under eyedrop anaesthesia with the patient awake. Only mild sedation is required to relieve any patient’s anxiety. The cataract is removed through two tiny incisions and an intraocular lens is implanted to take over the refractive function of the original eye lens. With the appropriate choice of lens, there is a good chance of achieving spectacle freedom following cataracts surgery. This means reading glasses may not be required anymore after cataract surgery. Check out our previous article for more details on what to expect after cataract surgery.




What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve of the eye. There are several types of glaucoma disorders. The most common type typically causes a drop in peripheral vision, followed by central vision as the disease progresses to the advanced stage. Many patients with glaucoma often do not notice issues until the later stages of the disease. As this is a fairly common condition that can cause irreversible vision loss, eye screening is important from the age of 40 years. Early detection and treatment can help prevent visual loss from this condition.


Symptoms & Treatment

As this condition is initially asymptomatic, it is recommended that you get an eye screening once you reach 40 years of age. Treatment can help control the disease but does not represent a cure. The probability of avoiding vision loss is higher with an earlier diagnosis. If you have a family history of glaucoma, high myopia or migraine, an eye check-up to detect this condition is highly recommended.


Diabetic Retinopathy


What is diabetic retinopathy?

Individuals who have diabetes may develop diabetic retinopathy — an eye disorder that can lead to vision loss and blindness. In this condition, the blood vessels of the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye) are impacted.

Diabetes causes a rise in blood sugar levels in the body which, over time, damages the walls of the retinal blood vessels. These damaged blood vessels may leak fluid or even bleed into the vitreous humour (fluid within the eyeball), causing a drop in vision.


Symptoms & Treatment

Generally, diabetic retinopathy will only present obvious symptoms when it is in the later stages. Some of the common symptoms that may indicate the development of diabetic retinopathy include sudden vision loss, a more gradual blurring of vision or patchy vision.

The main treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include intravitreal injections (injections of medicines into the vitreous humour), laser treatments and surgical procedures to remove the blood or scar tissue from the eyes.



Eye care and regular eye screening are crucial in maintaining our eye health. If you or your child are experiencing any eye-related symptoms, it is best to be safe and consult a doctor, as neglecting symptoms can lead to complications or put one at a higher risk of vision loss. Here at Ava Eye Clinic, we offer general ophthalmology services for all ages, including treatments such as cataract surgery. Book an appointment with us if you and your family are due for an eye screening.