Conditions and Diseases

Eye Diseases

Common Eye Problems

Vision problems can occur at any stage in life, and they often get worse as people get older. The three major contributors to vision loss worldwide are cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Through partnerships, extensive clinical trials and an innovative product pipeline, Alcon has consistently led the advancement of eye care by developing, manufacturing and selling effective treatments for many specific eye diseases.


A cataract – clouding of the eye’s natural lens as a result of aging or injury – is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that cataracts are responsible for 51 percent of blindness, representing about 20 million people around the world. The only known treatment is surgical removal of the clouded lens.

Learn more about cataracts.


Glaucoma , another leading cause of blindness according to WHO, is a progressive eye disease that damages the optic nerve, resulting in gradual, irreversible loss of vision and eventually blindness if left untreated. Caused by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eyes, glaucoma is often asymptomatic and therefore undetected until an advanced stage.

Learn more about glaucoma.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are the most common vision problems – and the most treatable. A refractive error occurs when the eye is not clearly focused on an object. Blurred vision is the most common symptom of refractive errors, but people also experience headaches, eye strain and even double vision.

Refractive errors include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (oddly shaped cornea), and are typically treated with contact lenses, corrective glasses or refractive surgery.

Learn more about myopia and hyperopia.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60, and the United Nations estimates it impacts 25-30 million people worldwide. AMD occurs when the center of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates.

Learn more about AMD.

Vitreoretinal Disorders

Vitreoretinal disorders, such as retinal detachment, retinal diseases, vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) and diabetic retinopathy, can cause loss of vision – and sometimes even blindness. Alcon has a long heritage of working closely with vitreoretinal surgeons to understand their needs and provide technology and products that deliver the best results for patients.

Learn more about detached retina.

External Eye Conditions

Alcon offers both prescription and over-the-counter solutions to help reduce the pain and discomfort resulting from problems on the eye’s surface, including allergies, eye inflammation, eye irritations such as conjunctivitis (or pink eye) and dry eye. The biological causes of these conditions are unclear, and pollution and other environmental factors can make them worse.

Learn more about external eye conditions such as eye allergies, conjunctivitis, and dry eye.
Life cycle of patient needs

Caring for Eyes of Every Age

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How The Eye Works

Facts About the Eye

“Red eye” in photographs occurs when light from a camera’s flash reflects off of the retina’s blood vessels. 

The National Eye Institute. Eye-Related Facts