Medical Conditions and Disorders of the Eye

This is a summary of basic information about some of the most common diseases and disorders of the eye. It is not an exhaustive list. A list of more ophthalmic conditions follows below (see also the glossary section 'Disorders of the Eye').

This topic about the eye and visual system is associated with study of the nervous system. It is beyond the requirements of most first-level courses in health-related subjects, therapies, and medical-support roles such as nursing.


Short Definition

Further Information


Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids that can manifest in the form of the rims of the eyelids becoming inflamed making eyes red, itchy, and sore.


A cataract is an opacity of the (eye's) natural crystalline lens.

This is a very common cause of visual impairment in older people.


The word chorioretinopathy refers to any disease, disorder, or medical condition of the eye that involves both the choroid layer and the retina.

Choroidal detachment

The expression Choroidal Detachment refers to the seperation of the choroid from the sclera (within the eyeball) due to leakage of fluid from vessels within the choroid.


The word choroiditis refers to inflammation of the choroid layer of the eye.


The term conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye.

It is also sometimes called Pink Eye.

Corneal dystrophies

Corneal dystrophies are abnormal developments affecting the cornea of the eye. There are many types of corneal dystrophy, incl. e.g. epithelial membrane dystrophy, Reis-Bücklers dystrophy, Thiel-Behnke dystrophy, Lattice dystrophies, Granular dystrophy and Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy.


Cycloplegia is the word used to refer to paralysis of the ciliary muscle of eye.

Ectopia lentis

Ectopia lentis is the term used to refer to displacement of the lens (of the eye), which may be either a complete displacement or a partial displacement (which is also known as "subluxation").


Ectropion is the turning-out of the eyelid, away from the eyeball.


Entropion is the turning-in of the eyelid, towards from the eyeball, which may lead to eyelashes rubbing against the eye causing irritation called trichiasis.


Glaucoma is a condition in which loss of vision (eyesight) can result from excessively high pressure in the eyeball.


The word iridocyclitis refers to inflammation of the iris and ciliary body of the eye.


The word iridodialysis refers to a tear in the attachment of the iris and ciliary body of the eye.


Iridoplegia is the term used to refer to paralysis of the iris of the eye.

Iris Bombé

The term Iris Bombé refers to an abnormal condition of the eye characterised by the iris bulging forwards towards the cornea.


The word iritis refers to inflammation of the iris of the eye.


Keratitis is inflammation of the cornea of the eye. It is generally painful and causes the eyes to water and vision to become blurred.


Keratoconjunctivitis is combined inflammation of both the cornea and the conjunctiva of the eye.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is dryness of the cornea and conjunctiva due to deficiency in the production of tears.


Keratoconus is an abnormality of the cornea of the eye in which the cornea has a conical shape rather than the usual curvature.


Keratoglobus (also known as megalocornea) is a congenital disorder of the eye / vision in which the whole cornea bulges forward in the shape of a continuous curve.


Maculopathy is a word used to refer to any abnormality of the macula of the eye, an example is bull's eye maculopathy.


The word microcornea refers to an unusually small cornea (of the eye), microcornea applies to corneal diameters of less than 1 cm (10 mm).


Ophthalmia is a general term that refers to "inflammation of the eye", and particularly the conjunctiva.


The word opthalmitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the eye.


The word ophthalmoplegia means paralysis of the muscles of the eye. There are several forms of this condition.

Optic neuritis

Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve. Severe and/or repeated occurrences may lead to optic atrophy.

Pink Eye

Pink Eye is another word for conjunctivitis.


Ptosis (also known as blepharoptosis) is drooping of the upper eyelid, so that an upper eyelid rests at a lower position than is normal. Either one eye or both eyes may be affected.

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment (also known as "a detached retina") refers to the separation of the inner nervous layer of the retina of the eye from the outer pigmented layer of the retina, to which it is normally attached.

Retinal vascular occlusion

Retinal vascular occlusion is the blockage of a blood vessel connected to the retina of the eye, either blockage of an artery supplying blood to the retina (retinal artery occlusion) or blockage of a vein carrying blood from the retina (retinal vein occlusion).


Scleritis is inflammation of the sclera (which is also known casually as the "white of the eye" due to its colour).


The word squint (also called as strabismus and as heterotropia) refers to abnormal alignment of the eyes.


Trichiasis is a condition in which eyelashes rub against the eyeball causing discomfort and, in some cases, ulceration of the cornea.


Uveitis refers to inflammation of any part of the uveal tract of the eye.

Uveoparotid Fever

Uveoparotid Fever is another word for uveoparotitis.


Uveoparotitis involves inflammation of the iris, ciliary body, and choroid parts of the eye together with swelling of the parotid salivary gland.

For information about other diseases and disorders of the eyes and visual system see the listing in the Glossary Section: Diseases and Disorders of the Eye and Visual System, which contains over 140 conditions.

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