Common Eye Problems
Eyes are the one of the most important organs of human body. Vision is an important part of life and without it, it is impossible to lead a hassle free and healthy life. Therefore, it is advisable to take care of the eyes and check with the doctors in case of any trouble.
The common eye problems include pink eye, dry eyes, farsightedness, astigmatism, diabetic retinopathy, presbyopia, cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration. All of these problems, however, show some common symptoms, such as itching, blurriness or fatigue. Hence, it is advisable to inspect the causes of the simple symptoms as they may signify underlying, serious eye problems.
Symptoms of Various Eye Diseases
There may be various symptoms of the eye problems depending upon the nature of the disease. The most common symptom of pink eye is a red or pink colored eye. Redness, itching, blurred vision and gritty feeling can be the other symptoms.
The symptoms of dry eye syndrome include itching, dry eyes, redness, excessive tearing, blurry vision and increased discomfort after watching TV or reading books etc.
Farsightedness results in the inability or difficulty in focusing on nearby objects. Other symptoms associated with farsightedness include eyestrain, pain around the eyes, or a headache around the forehead.
The symptoms of astigmatism include blurry vision for distant as well as nearby objects, feeling tired after reading and slanting of letters and words while reading.
Diabetic retinopathy leads to formation of specks and floaters in vision, blurring of central vision, streaks or blockage of vision and difficulty seeing at night.
Presbyopia makes focusing on nearby objects impossible. Tiredness and fatigue are the other symptoms.
Cataract offers hindrance in vision as a layer is formed in front of the lens of the eye. It feels as if one is looking through a fogged up and cloudy window.
Fluctuations in vision and incapability in peripheral vision are signs of glaucoma. If untreated tunnel vision or complete loss of sight may result.
Blurred vision, distorted images and missing letters in word and difficulty in reading may be the symptoms of macular degeneration.
Diagnosis of Eye Diseases
Pink eye diagnosis is done by taking a sample of the secretions from the conjunctive to test the kind of infection.
The dry eye syndrome is usually tested with the Schirmer tear test, in which blotting strips of paper are placed under your lower eyelids and the amount of soaking is measured later.
Farsightedness is tested using a host of measures and instruments. The doctor usually checks for the focusing power of the yes through various instruments and tests.
Astigmatism is usually diagnosed with a keratometer or a keratoscope. The former tests the amount and orientation of corneal astigmatism while the latter uses projection of light rings on cornea and the reflection is tested.
A dilated eye exam is performed to test and diagnose diabetic retinopathy. A retinal photography test called fluorescent angiography may also be performed.
Presbyopia is again tested with various tests and instruments. The doctor may use bright light to directly focus on the eyes or offer you to look through a series of lenses.
Several tests are performed to diagnose cataract. Some of the tests include Visual acuity test, slit-lamp examination and retinal examination. The first tests the sharpness of vision while slit-lamp examination lets the doctor see the structures in front of the eyes in magnified way. The retinal test examines the lenses for signs of cataract.
To diagnose glaucoma, tests that are performed include tonometry, pachymetry and tests for optic nerve damage. Tonometry tests the intraocular pressure while pachymetry is performed to test the thickness of cornea. The optic nerve test can tell whether glaucoma has started.
To test macular degeneration eye examination for the presence of drusen and mottled pigmentation in the macula can be performed. Apart from this, angiography and Optical coherence tomography may be performed.
Causes of Eye Diseases
There may be different reasons for onset of the eye diseases. Aging, injury or damages to the eye parts may be the most prominent reasons for the eye diseases. With growing age the flexibility of the eye lens to shrink or spread may decrease which may lead to various eye conditions such as presbyopia and farsightedness. Injuries, especially to the eyes due to accident or over-use may cause various problems too, such as astigmatism and macular degeneration. Some chronic diseases, including diabetes may cause eye troubles as well. Diabetic retinopathy is one of such diseases. In this disease, high blood sugar level hampers the retina thereby causing diabetic retinopathy. Lack of vitamins can also contribute to the eye diseases.
Types of Eye Diseases
Most of the eye diseases are not differentiated into various types as they are typical and specific. However, cataract, glaucoma and macular degeneration can be divided into various types depending upon their nature.
Cataract types: Cataracts that occur during birth or present very early in life are termed congenital or infantile cataracts. When the central portion of the lens is most affected, the cataract type is nuclear cataracts. The cataracts which affect the cortex or outer layer of the lens, it is termed as cortical cataract. Sub capsular cataracts affect the portions immediately next to the lens capsule.
Glaucoma types: Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle closure glaucoma are the two types of glaucoma. In normal tension glaucoma, there is damage of optic nerves despite normal IOP. If an increase in eye pressure occurs due to another disease, then it is called secondary glaucoma.
Macular degeneration is also divided into two types. In the dry macular degeneration, the geographic atrophy of the macaula results in severe central visual loss. The wet degeneration is characterized by choroidal neovasculariztion (CNV).
Treatment of the Various Eye Diseases
Pink eye: The bacterial pink eye is treated with an antibiotic liquid, while the viral pink eye goes away by itself in due course of time. Allergic types of pink eye are treated with various medications, such asantihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, decongestants, steroids and anti-inflammatory drops.
Dry eyes: The treatment of dry eyes is usually done with artificial tears. However, every patient may not respond to it. Cyclosporine, restasis and steroid drops may also be prescribed.
Farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia: These diseases can be treated with the application of external lenses, such as eyeglasses and contact lenses. Apart from these, there are various surgeries, such as LASIK, LASEK, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and conductive keratoplasty (CK).
Diabetic retinopathy: The treatment of diabetic retinopathy requires controlling diabetes with insulin treatment.
Glaucoma: Treatment of glaucoma can include eye drops (beta blockers, alpha agonists etc), oral medications (acetazolamide), neroprotective drugs (brimonidine and memantine) and surgeries.
Macular degeneration: It is usually irreversible and the treatment includes the use of large glasses and dietary inclusions (vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc).
Living with Eye Problems
Living with eye problems can be a hectic situation. However, the basic need is to follow the medications and suggestions offered by the doctor. Dietary changes, including the vitamins and minerals which are good for health may also go a long way in keeping the problem away from aggravating.
Prevention of Eye Diseases
Most of the eye diseases are irreversible, meaning once they start they cannot be reversed. Although it has been observed that healthy diet, regular exercise and proper rest can prevent many of the eye problems. Inclusion of green vegetables is very helpful in preventing eye diseases. Lately, yoga and various other exercises have been found to help keep the eyes away from common diseases.