There are two types of blepharitis, seborrheic blepharitis and staph blepharitis. Seborrheic blepharitis is often part of an overall skin condition called seborrhea, which may also affect the scalp, chest, back and the area behind the ears. Staph blepharitis is a more common condition, caused by bacteria, that begins in childhood and may continue through adulthood. Blepharitis could be dexcribed as dandruff of the eyelids. Seborrheck blepharitis causes redness of the eyelids, flaking and scaling of the eyelashes and greasy, waxy scales. Staph blepharitis also causes redness of the eyelid margins and flaking of the lashes. It can cause loss of eyelashes, eyelid scarring and red eye. Specifically formulated cleaner can reduce these symptoms. Application of hot packs to the eyes daily can also help. Staph blepharitis may also require antibiotic drops or ointments. The use of artificial tears is often helpful to relieve associated discomfort or dryness.
A cataract is a cloudiness that occurs in the lens inside of the eye. The lens is made mostly of water and protein arranged to let light through. When the protein clumps in the lens, light is blocked and the lens appears cloudy. A person with cataracts may notice faded colors, problems with halos or poor night vision. Your eye doctor can detect the presence of cataracts during a thorough eye exam. When vision is impaired to a point where it interferes with daily activities, surgery will be needed. Cataract surgery is done on an out-patient basis. A very small incision, through which the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an intra-ocular lens implant (IOL). With our technology and surgical techniques, most patients find their vision after surgery to be very clear for distance vision without the use of glasses.
Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is a redness of the eye. It is often accompanied by a discharge and itching or a foreign body sensation. Conjunctivitis is most often a viral infection but can also be caused by bacteria or an allergic reaction. Both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be contagious. To avoid it spreading, wash your hands often, do not touch the infected area with your hands, do not share wash cloths or towels and avoid using makeup which may have become contaminated. A child should be kept from school for a few days with conjunctivitis. Sometimes your doctor will need to prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments to treat conjunctivitis. Warm compresses will soothe the infected area.
Diabetic retinopathy is a condition associated with diabetes. High levels of blood sugar can damage tiny blood vessels in the eye, causing poor circulation. This can cause small leaks in the vessels, and swelling of the retinal nerve layer. Eventually new vessels, which are very fragile, may form to replace the damaged vessels. The new vessels can burst, creating a hemorrhage, and resulting in blurred vision or even blindness. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include blurred or darkened vision and a sudden loss of vision. It is critical for all diabetic patients to have a thorough eye health examination every year. When diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed early, medical management, including laser treatment and other surgeries, can be more effective in preserving vision. In addition to diabetic retinopathy, diabetic patients also have a higher risk of developing cataracts at a younger age and of having glaucoma. If you know you have diabetes, make sure you control your blood sugar level. This will reduce your risk of getting diabetic eye disease and other complications involving the heart, kidneys and other organs.
Dry Eye Syndrome
If your eyes are often itchy or dry, you may have dry eye syndrome, which affects almost 10 million Americans. Dry eye syndrome is caused by a lack of, or poor quality of, tears. Tears lubricate the outer layers of the eye, if the tears are not composed of a proper balance of mucous, water, and oil, the eye becomes irritated. Dry eye syndrome leads to a number of symptoms including: itching, irritation, burning, excessive tearing, redness, blurred vision that improves with blinking and discomfort from long periods of watching TV, driving, using a computer or reading. Environmental factors such as dry, hot or windy climates, high altitudes, air conditioned rooms and cigarette smoke can also contribute to dry eye syndrome.
Glaucoma is generally caused by too much fluid pressure inside the eye. Fluid in the eye helps to nourish and cleanse the inside of the eye by constantly flowing in and out. When too much fluid is produced or the fluid is prevented from flowing out, the intraocular pressure increases and damages the optic nerve. This causes a gradual loss in peripheral vision. Genetics seem to be a risk factor of glaucoma. Also, you may be at a greater risk if you are over 45, of African descent, very near-sighted or diabetic. If you have used steroids or cortisone for a long period of time, or have suffered an eye injury in the past, you have a greater chance of developing glaucoma. Treatment may include prescription eye drops, laser treatment and other surgeries. The goal of treatment is to reduce the pressure in the eye, thereby limiting damage to the optic nerve and preserving vision.
Macular degeneration is a disease which affects a small area of the retina known as the macula. Most often, macular degeration is accompanied by the formation of yellow deposits called "drusen" under the macula, which dry out or thin the macula. This is called "dry" macular degeration. In less common cases, abnormal blood vessels develop under the macula and leak fluid. This is called "wet" macular degeneration. A number of uncontrollable factors contribute to macular degeneration including: age, sex, eye color, farsightedness and race. Risk factors you can control include: smoking, high blood pressure, exposure to harmful sunlight and diet.
The part of the eye which collects light and transmits the images to the optic nerve and brain is the retina. It lines the inner back wall of the eye. When separated from the back wall, it is known as retinal detachment. Retinal detachment may cause a sudden defect in your vision, a small blind spot or a noticeable shadow. Sudden increases in floater or flashes of light are all symptoms of retinal detachment.