Blepharitis is an eye disease characterized by chronic eyelid inflammation. It is usually caused by an excess growth of bacteria. Blepharitis is a common eye condition and causes the eyelids to become red, itchy, swollen, and sometimes scaly-appearing. Other symptoms include burning of the eye, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and crusting of the eyelashes. Although this disease cannot be cured, it can be treated and controlled through properly monitored eyelid hygiene.
A cataract is a cloudy but painless area on the eye’s lens. Cataracts block the passage of light to the retina, which is the nerve layer toward the back of the eye. Once the retina detects light entering the eye, it sends nerve signals to the brain about what they eye sees. The reason that cataracts cause vision problems is because they block the light that the retina is supposed to detect. Symptoms of a cataract include cloudy or fuzzy vision, frequent changes to eyeglasses prescription, and double vision. Natural aging and exposure to sunlight usually cause cataracts. However, cataracts can also result from eye injury, eye disease, and health problems including diabetes. Surgery is performed to remove cataracts. However, surgery is only necessary in the event that cataract induced vision loss affects an individual’s quality of life.
Conjunctivitis is commonly referred to as pinkeye and refers to the swelling and reddening of the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane lining the eyelid and the eye surface. This condition is not serious and usually only lasts seven to ten days. Symptoms include redness and swelling of the eye, heavy tearing, and drainage. Viruses or bacteria, dry eyes, chemical fumes and smoke, or allergies often cause conjunctivitis. Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is highly contagious. While at-home remedies consisting of eye cleansing work best for cases of conjunctivitis caused by minor colds, allergies, and infections, bacterial induced cases of conjunctivitis usually require an antibiotic treatment.
Diabetic Retinopathy is the most common of several eye problems that people with diabetes may face. It is also the leading cause of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetic Retinopathy results from changes in the retina’s blood vessels including the swelling of existing blood vessels or the growth of new blood vessels. The disease usually affects both eyes and consists of vision changes and loss over time. Symptoms include blurred vision and eye bleeding. However, symptoms often do not present themselves in the early stages of the disease, which is why it is important for patients with diabetes to undergo a comprehensive eye examination at least once a year. For more information, please visit Heidelberg Engineering.
Drooping Eyelids (Ptosis)
Ptosis (or drooping eyelids) occurs as individuals age and their eyelids sometimes begin to droop away from the eyeball. This drooping occurs as a result of reduced muscle tone in the muscles around eyes that control the eyelids. This condition can result in eye irritation, possible damage, and an inability for the lower lids to properly protect the eye. In some cases, drooping eyelids may also result in excessive tearing or impaired vision. Although there is no home treatment to remedy this condition, surgery may help to eliminate the problem.
Glaucoma refers to a collection of eye diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is located in the back of the eye and carries information from the eye to the brain. Ocular nerve damage may result in the loss of vision. At its onset, glaucoma causes a loss of peripheral vision. If untreated, glaucoma may lead to complete blindness over time. Damage to the optic nerve most commonly occurs when an excess of fluid builds up within the eye. Glaucoma may also be caused by an eye injury, eye surgery, an eye tumor, or certain medications including corticosteroids. Treatment options include certain types of medicine including eye drops, laser treatments, and surgery. Treatment can prevent vision from getting worse, however it cannot restore vision that has already been lost. For more information, please visit Heidelberg Engineering.
Keratitis is inflammation or swelling of the clear cornea. Mild or superficial keratitis usually only involves the outermost layer of the cornea. Usually vision is normal and there is no pain, however a mild scratchy feeling is common. Stromal Keratitis involves the deeper layers of the cornea. Pain and blurry vision are very common. Keratitis has many causes, including allergy, bacterial infection and viral infection. For more information, please visit Heidelberg Engineering.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among individuals over 60 in the United States. AMD can significantly impair vision and is caused by a deterioration of the retina. Symptoms include the distortion of straight lines, blurry areas in the center of vision, dark or white areas in the center of vision, and a change in color perception. Although there is no cure for AMD, treatment options include the use of anti-angiogenic drugs, laser therapy, photodynamic laser therapy, vitamins, low vision aids, submacular surgery, and retinal translocation. For more information, please visit the Macular Degeneration Foundation’s website at www.eyesight.org.
Ocular Hypertension refers to any condition in which the pressure inside of the eye (intraocular pressure) is higher than normal. In cases of ocular hypertension, intraocular pressure is present without any optic nerve damage or vision loss. Although ocular hypertension is not considered a disease itself, individuals diagnosed with the condition should be observed more closely for the onset of glaucoma than the general population. Most people who are diagnosed with ocular hypertension do not show any symptoms. However, it is something that eye care professionals check for during regular eye examinations. Ocular hypertension is treated through regular monitoring and medication in some cases. The goal in the treatment of ocular hypertension is always to reduce the intraocular pressure before it causes glaucoma or vision loss.
An eye disease in which there is damage to the retina, the nerve layer toward the back of the eye that detects light and sends signals to the brain. Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic disease and can be caused by a number of genetic defects. It is a fairly uncommon disease. Symptoms, which first present themselves during childhood, include decreased night vision, loss of peripheral vision, and loss of central vision. There are no known effective treatments for this disease. However, wearing sunglasses to protect the retina may help prevent vision loss.
Spots and Floaters
Eye floaters are small spots that move around the eye as it moves and appear in the field of vision. Although eye floaters are a nuisance to those who have them, they do not typically interfere with vision. Most people who experience eye floaters adapt to living with them and do not seek treatment. There are some cases however, in which eye floaters are bothersome enough that people seek treatment. Symptoms include the appearance of black or gray dots, ring shaped spots, or squiggly lines. Small clusters of collagen proteins usually cause eye floaters. It is important to see your doctor if you believe that you are suffering from an eye floater. Although eye floaters are not detrimental to vision, they may be a sign of a more serious condition such as a retinal detachment or tear.
Styes are lumps located either in the eyelid or along its edge. These tender and red bumps are caused by a bacterial infection but are rarely serious. Usually, styes will clear up on their own in a couple of days. Symptoms include swollen or painful eyelids and watery eyes. Over-the-counter stye ointment treatments and warm compresses will help clear up most styes. Makeup should be avoided while the stye heals. In the event that styes persist, your doctor may want to prescribe antibiotic eye ointment or eye drops.