General Eye Conditions

Go to: Eye Allergies | Floaters and Flashes | Strabismus | Uveitis

Dry Eye Syndrome

Some people do not produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep the eye healthy and comfortable. This is known as dry eye.

Tears are produced by two different methods. Tears can be formed at a slow steady rate and are responsible for normal eye lubrication. Large quantities of tears can also be produced in response to eye irritation or emotions.

Tears that lubricate are constantly produced by a healthy eye. Excessive tearing occurs when the eye is irritated by a foreign body, dryness or when a person cries.

Dry Eye Symptoms include:

• Stinging or burning eyes
• Scratchiness
• Gritty sensation
• Itching
• Light Sensitivity
• Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
• Difficulty wearing contact lenses
• Excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind
• Tearing

What Causes Dry Eye?
Tear production normally decreases as we age. Although dry eye can occur in both men and women at any age, women are most often affected. This is especially true after menopause.

A wide variety of common medications can cause dry eye by reducing tear secretion. Be sure to tell our doctor the names of all the medications you are taking, especially if you are using diuretics, beta-blockers, antihistamines, sleeping pills, medications for “nerves” or pain relievers.

How Are Dry Eyes Treated?
Artificial Tears - Since many of the medications that can cause dry eyes are necessary, the use of “artificial tears” may be recommended. These eye drops are similar to your own tears. They lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture.

Punctal Plugs - Conserving your eyes’ own tears is another approach to keeping the eyes moist. Tears drain out of the eye through a small channel into the nose.

Your doctor may close these channels with punctal plugs. The closure conserves your own tears and makes artificial tears last longer.

If you suffer from these or other uncomfortable symptoms of dry eye… we can help! We would like to schedule an appointment to tell you about an exciting, new therapy for dry eye. Please call us today!

Eye Allergies (Return to top)

The eyes are one of the most sensitive and vulnerable organs of the body. Airborne allergens and other particles can land directly on the surface of the eye, causing irritation and redness. Although tears constantly wash the eyes, they can’t always keep out allergens like pollen or pet dander. Because of this ocular allergies are common.

What Are Ocular Allergies?
Eye allergies are no different than those that affect your sinuses, nose or lungs. When an allergen comes in contact with your eyes, your body releases histamine, a chemical produced in reaction to a substance that the immune system can’t tolerate. Special cells called mast cells make histamine. These cells are present throughout the body but are highly concentrated in the eyes.

Ocular allergies tend to be airborne. The most frequent allergic trigger are pollen, pet hair or dander, dust and some medications.

Other triggers that irritate the eyes but are not true allergies are cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust.

If you have ocular allergies or any kind of allergic disease, the most effective treatment is prevention. Try to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms. This is not always an easy task, especially if your triggers are airborne, such as pollen.

When ocular allergies can’t be controlled, there are several medications that may help to relieve symptoms. Most of these treatments are topical, such as eye drops or ointment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis and conjunctivitis caused by an infection can be hard to distinguish. They both manifest themselves by an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the membrane lining under the eyelids). Both have similar symptoms, such as redness, itching and swelling in the eye area. However, when conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, both eyes are usually affected. Viral or Bacterial Conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye”, can affect either a single eye or both eyes.

Common symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis are:

• Redness and itching under the eyelid
• Excessive watering
• Swelling of the eyeball

Common symptoms of conjunctivitis associated with infection are:

• Feeling that eyelids are “glued” shut upon waking
• Sensitivity to light
• Pus on the surface of the eye
• Burning sensation

It is important to determine whether someone has conjunctivitis because of allergies or infection since each treatment is different. Because of this reason, it is necessary to schedule an appointment with your doctor so that he can accurately diagnosis your condition and prescribe the proper course of action to ensure your ocular health.

Floaters and Flashes (Return to top)

What are floaters?
You may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky.

Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of your eye. Floaters can appear as different shapes such as little dots, circles, lines, clouds or cobwebs.

What causes floaters?

When people reach middle age, the vitreous gel may start to thicken or shrink, forming clumps or strands inside the eye. The vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye, causing a posterior vitreous detachment. It is a common cause of floaters.

Posterior vitreous detachment is more common for people who:
• are nearsighted;
• have undergone cataract operations;
• have had YAG laser surgery of the eye;
• have had inflammation inside the eye.

The appearance of floaters may be alarming, especially if they develop suddenly. You should see an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) right away if you suddenly develop new floaters, especially if you are over 45 years of age.

Strabismus (Return to top)

What is strabismus?
Strabismus is a visual defect in which the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. One eye may look straight ahead, while the other eye turns inward, outward, upward or downward.

Strabismus is a common condition among children. About 4 percent of all children in the United States have strabismus. It also can occur later in life.

Strabismus occurs equally in males and females. Strabismus may run in families.

What causes strabismus?
The exact cause of strabismus is not fully understood.

What are the symptoms of strabismus?
The main sign of strabismus is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes children will squint one eye in bright sunlight or tilt their head to use their eyes together.

How is strabismus diagnosed?
Strabismus can be diagnosed during an eye exam. It is recommended that all children have their vision checked by their pediatrician, family doctor, or ophthalmologist at or before their fourth birthday.

How is strabismus treated?
After a complete eye examination, an ophthalmologist can recommend appropriate treatment.

In some cases, eyeglasses can be prescribed for your child to straighten the eyes. Other treatments may involve surgery to correct the unbalanced eye muscles or to remove a cataract. Covering or patching the strong eye to improve amblyopia is often necessary.

Strabismus surgery is usually a safe and effective treatment for eye misalignment.

Uveitis (Return to top)

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of your eye.

What are the symptoms of uveitis?

Symptoms of uveitis include:

• light sensitivity;
• blurring of vision;
• pain;
• redness of the eye.

Uveitis may come on suddenly with redness and pain, or sometimes with painless blurring of your vision. A case of simple "red eye" may in fact be a serious problem of uveitis. If your eye becomes red or painful, and does not clear up quickly, you should be examined and treated by an ophthalmologist (medical eye doctor).

How is uveitis treated?
Eye drops, especially steroids and pupil dilators, can reduce inflammation and pain. For more severe inflammation, oral medication or injections may be necessary.


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