Keeping an Eye on Your Visual Health
While people clean their teeth twice a day and have a dental routine, it is easy to forget your eye health routine. If your vision is good and you have no troubling symptoms you might not even think about your visual health, but it is just as vital to see an eye specialist regularly as prompt detection could save your sight. Some disorders like cataracts or retinal problems can result in blindness but have surprisingly few symptoms so that’s why it is important to have a specialist check your eyes. Some of the problems that affect eye health are:
If you suffer with dry eyes, they might burn or itch. This is caused when the glands that make tears cannot produce enough. It can also be caused by air pollution. It is usually a minor problem but sometimes your vision may deteriorate. Treatments include eye drops, an eye piece that uses heat and pressure to open the blocked glands, clear them and allow them to resume normal functioning or plugs placed into the tear ducts to reduce loss of moisture. You might also be advised to use a humidifier to increase moisture in your home.
You might have the opposite problem of watery eyes. If your eyes keep running you are producing too many tears. This may be caused by an eye infection or blocked duct, both of which would need attention from a doctor. Sometimes watery eyes have a more benign cause and simply result from weather changes such as heat or wind.
This is a common deterioration of vision, caused by aging and normally occurring in those over 40. You may find that it is more difficult to see small objects, read the text on a book or see what you’re doing in front of the computer screen. If you need to use the ‘zoom in’ function more often, you could have presbyopia and may be in need of reading glasses or eye surgery to remove your eye lens and replace it with a brand new intraocular lens.
Glaucoma is a deterioration of the optic nerve and can be caused by a variety of things including inflammation or infection which goes on to damage the nerve, eye injuries, blocked blood vessels or and increased pressure on the eye. Glaucoma often has no symptoms but if it isn’t treated it can lead to permanent blindness so that is why regular eye examinations are so vital – your eye specialist is trained to spot things you might otherwise miss.
Some people incorrectly believe that cataracts are an obstruction of the eye lens, but in actual fact it is the eye lens itself that goes cloudy. Cloudy patches prevent some of the light from filtering through to the retina where images are processed. This then deteriorates your vision quality. If you are diagnosed with cataracts you will need yearly eye exams and field of vision checks to see the level of deterioration in your sight. If the cloudy patches become thick, you may need surgery to remove the eye lens and replace it with an artificial lens. This is a very simple procedure using local anaesthetic eye drops to numb the area. A tiny incision is made through which your natural lens is taken out and the new one is put in. The procedure should immediately restore your previously clear vision and only takes around 20 minutes to complete.
If you are diabetic, one of the complications is Diabetic Retinopathy, where prolonged high blood sugar destroys the blood vessels in the back of the eye, preventing essential vitamins and nutrients from reaching the retina. As the retina is responsible for formulating a picture of what you see, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision problems or even permanent blindness. Scar tissue can form at the back of the retina and cause it to pull away from the back of the eye. This is called retinal detachment and needs treatment to avoid blindness. Diabetic Retinopathy can become worse if you are pregnant so pregnant women need regular check- ups of their eyes during gestation and in the post-partum period. There are treatments that are safe for the unborn baby. Undiagnosed or untreated medical conditions in pregnancy are not only only dangerous for the baby but they can contribute to depression in the mother.
The cornea focuses light that enters your eye. If it becomes injured, you get an eye infection or you are exposed to an environmental irritant you may have pain and redness in your eyes, accompanied by reduced vision. To manage this problem you may need medicated eye cream or surgery.
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