The Most Common Eye Problems That You Should Know About
Like any other health-related checkups, do you regularly visit your eye doctor?
In October 2017, Propeller Insights on behalf of “Think About Your Eyes” conducted an online survey. The survey was intended to educate the people on the importance of vision health and regular eye exams. The findings of the survey reveal that very few visit eye doctor as a routine annual health checkup. Those who wear prescription glasses or contact lenses are the only ones routinely visiting to get prescription checked. Every professional in the vision industry suggests that regular checkups are critical but very few visits to the eye doctor as they think their vision is “fine”.Here are a few vision and eye problems for which you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam!
Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis:
Pink eye is very common and often starts as a mild pink color in one eye and is very contagious in closed environments. It is often due to a viral infection so it goes away in few days without medical treatment. When infected, the watch list is proper hygiene and avoid touching the eye and sharing towels and pillows. However, it is important that you watch out for getting the wrong treatment and preventing its spread.
The most common causes of Pink Eye are:
• Viral or bacterial infections
• Dry eyes
• Chemical conjunctivitis
Symptoms and Treatment of Pink Eye:
In simple words, it is an eye that has a pink appearance. There are other symptoms depending on the type of conjunctivitis:
• Viral Conjunctivitis: Your eyes become watery, itchy and sensitive to light. In most cases, no medical treatment is required. Application of cold, wet washcloth to the eyes can relieve symptoms. As it is highly contagious avoid contacts and sharing washcloth, towels, etc.
• Bacterial Conjunctivitis: In the corner of the eye you will see a sticky, yellow or greenish-yellow discharge. Sometimes on waking up causes your eyelids to be stuck together. It is also contagious. Antibiotic or eye drops will be prescribed by the doctor.
• Allergic Conjunctivitis: Accompanied by stuffiness and runny nose, both eyes become watery and burning with itchiness. Also becomes sensitive to light. It is not contagious. Usually, allergy medications can help with this type of conjunctivitis.
In some cases, it can be difficult to judge the type of pink eye disease by symptoms alone. The wrong treatment can lead to serious eye problems including corneal ulcer or permanent vision loss. To avoid this, it is recommended that if you see any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an eye exam with your optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.
To avoid some type of conjunctivitis, the vision professionals at Goggles4u preferred prescription eyeglasses over contact lenses. They suggest considering high-index lenses with anti-reflective coating to make your glasses thinner, lighter which also make them attractive. If your eyes are light sensitive, photochromic lenses can be a good choice which will protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation.
Allergies and Itchy Eyes:
Most people link allergies with sneezes, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, etc., but it is not the only affected area. Allergies can also hit your eyes causing red, swollen and itchy eyes also known as “allergic conjunctivitis”. The main cause could be pollen, dust mites, pet dander, feathers and some other allergens. It causes swelling and inflammation in your eyes making your eyes get red, teary and itchy.
To prevent those allergies, find out the triggers and avoid attracting them. Over-the-counter anti-allergy drops and nasal sprays can bring relief to those allergies. If you have giant papillary conjunctivitis making your eyes sensitive and red you need to avoid using contact lenses instead use prescription eyeglasses. To protect from pollen, when you go out it is important to wear eyeglasses or big sunglasses to avoid hitting pollen. Special pillow covers and frequent washing of bedding in hot water will limit your exposure to dust mites.
A stye or hordeolum is caused by a build-up of bacteria in an oil gland developing a small pimple or painful red lump at the edge of an eyelid, sometimes accompanied by swollen eyes. It typically harmless to the eye and doesn’t affect vision problems but can be uncomfortable. Don’t confuse a stye with another lid lump, the chalazion which is painless, smooth and not an infection. The stye could be both, on the inside or outside. An external stye is usually short-lived and starts as a small spot on the eyelid turning into painful swelling.
Heals only after it bursts.An internal stye also causes a red, painful swelling which disappears completely once the infection is cured. Sometimes it is required to open and drain fluid-filled cyst left in the eye.Usually, it gets resolved on its own, without medication. Home remedies include warm compress with cloth or teabag, cleaning eyelid with mild soap and water or saline solution, and massage. Antibiotic ointments are also useful. To avoid spreading the infection, do not pop or squeeze a stye.If you have consistent pain in the eye, swelling is not subsided within a week and interfering with your vision, medical advice is suggested.
Dry Eye Syndrome:
The dry eye syndrome usually affects those who wear contact lenses and spend a lot of time in front of digital screens causing less blinking. The eyes become dry and irritated when tears evaporate off of the front surface of the eye faster. The symptoms include irritation, redness, and easily fatigued eyes. The vision could also be blurred. Besides the usage of contact lenses and other causes, the natural aging process, the side effect of some drugs or diseases that affect the making of tears, rheumatoid arthritis and collagen vascular diseases could be the causes of dry eye syndrome.
Symptoms can be relieved by limiting screen time and using artificial tears to supplement the existing tear layer. If you have these silent signs of dry eye, ask your optometrist about some solutions during your annual comprehensive eye exam. It is a chronic and typically progressive condition but can be managed successfully. If left untreated the dry eyes can be dangerous causing permanent harm to your vision. Also if the eyes are not lubricated enough are more susceptible to scratches or infection. As there are a number of causes of the disease, treatment approaches are varied depending on the causes, including artificial tears, prescription eye drop, steroid eye drops, nutritional supplements, etc. The treatment of dry eye syndrome takes longer period requiring your patience. Be prepared, as there is no quick fix.
Convergence Insufficiency Disorder (CI):
Convergence Insufficiency Disorder is a common near vision problem. It is the weakness or inability to turn the eyes inward, especially when looking at things up close, and it can lead to eyestrain, blurred vision, double vision, headaches, and difficulty reading. Besides the above symptoms, the person with convergence insufficiency may show or complain inability to concentrate, short attention span and sleepiness during the activity, trouble remembering what was read, words appear to move, jump, swim or float and problems with motion sickness. Those symptoms may be worsened by illness, lack of sleep, and anxiety.Basic eye exam with the 20/20 eye chart is not adequate for the detection of convergence insufficiency.
Eye teaming and focusing tests are the most important diagnostics.There are mainly two types of treatments for Convergence Insufficiency categorized as active or passive. Active treatment is a supervised vision therapy which includes prescribed vision exercises don in a clinical office with home reinforcement. Passive treatment includes prismatic eyeglasses. It is not a cure but prism eyeglasses can relieve symptoms. Scientific research, as well as vision professionals, agrees that the primary treatment of Convergence insufficiency is vision therapy.Be sure to schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam for symptoms of CI and other vision problems that are not detected through a standard vision test.
Amblyopia (Lazy Eye):
Lazy eye is defined as a vision disorder which decreased vision in one eye. In conditions with Amblyopia, an eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity, even with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. This visual acuity usually begins during early childhood and mostly one eye is affected. But in some cases, it can occur in both eyes. If detected and treated early in life, reduced vision can be avoided. But, if left untreated, it can lead to legal blindness.
A simple screening test is no substitute. It is important to get annual eye exams for children to detect this condition as early as possible to begin treatment, if necessary. Sometimes back it was believed that if Amblyopia treatment is not initiated early in life which is around age 8, no improvement in visual acuity will be possible. But now with innovative computer programs which can stimulate neural changes can improve visual acuity and contrast sensitivity in older children and adults as well. But, still, early detection and treatment are important.
Visual Processing Disorder vs. Dyslexia:
Basically, it is not a physical problem with the eyes rather a neurological difficulty with the brain. But it is possible that dyslexia is also a problem of the eyes. The symptoms of dyslexia are often misdiagnosed so it is important to make sure these problems aren’t being caused by the eyes. It is not a problem of sight or sharpness of vision but visual processing of information and its interpretation. The person may have difficulty in synthesizing and analyzing visually presented information accurately or fast enough. Symptoms of a visual processing disorder include slower reading speed, difficulty writing letters/numbers, mixing up the sequence of letters, difficulty in recognizing the same word, difficulty distinguishing the main idea from other details, struggling to spell homophones and sight words. The best treatment method for Dyslexia is vision therapy.
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a refractive error widespread worldwide. Myopia tends to increase as the child matures and continues till around age 25. Basically, in Myopia the eye does not bend or refract light properly to a single focus resulting in distant objects appears blurred. However, close objects look clear. Myopia is easily corrected by using prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. As the time passes, the vision changes, a routine comprehensive eye exam is recommended to ensure updated and correct prescription.
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