Do you wake up to watery eyes in the morning? Do you notice redness in your eyes more often? Well, it’s time that you knock on your doctor’s door right away and get them treated.
Pollution, hectic work schedules and a “not-so-healthy” lifestyle are taking a toll on people’s health. We need to understand that, just like our cars and gadgets, our eyes also need care and protection.
Being the most sensitive organs in the body, our eyes are prone to infections and diseases. While 80 percent of vision problems all over the world are curable, about 39 million people have lost their vision permanently and a whopping 234 million people suffer from visual impairment. According to the National Cancer Institute, getting fast treatments when you notice certain symptoms can save your vision. So rush to your doctor if you notice the following signs:
Redness in the eyes can be due to a variety of reasons – the intrusion of a foreign object, rubbing of the eyes, and so on. But if the redness persists, it could mean a lot of things.
Conjunctivitis, for instance, is a serious inflammation of the eye that can create problems in your vision. Also called ‘pink eye’, it is a contagious eye disease. It happens when a thin, transparent membrane called conjunctiva becomes infected, which leads to swelling of the blood vessels. This, in turn, gives the eye a reddish or pinkish appearance. It can be painful if ignored for long and should be treated immediately.
The dry eye syndrome occurs due to poor functioning of the tear glands. These glands release an insufficient quantity of tears.
This lack of moisture and nourishment in the eyes causes dryness and makes the eyes look red and swollen. Don’t think dryness is a minor problem – dry eye syndrome is not curable. Consult your eye doctor as soon as you experience dryness in your eyes.
This is the opposite of dry eye syndrome. In this case, tear glands release excessive tears, giving a glassy look to the eyes. This could be because of a change of weather, or the entrance of a foreign object in the eyes. It could also occur due to poor tear drainage, which may be because of a blocked tear duct.
Watery eyes are not a matter of concern as the excessive tears can be treated by using soft compression or eye drops. But the right eye drops need to be used and for that, you need to consult the doctor. The more complicated condition is called tear drainage. Usually, tears flow from the lacrimal glands, located above the eyes, into tiny holes called puncta and lubricate and protect the eyes. Excessive tear drainage can be because of a blocked tear duct. Dacrocystorhinostomy or DCR is the surgery recommended in which a probe is passed through the blocked tear duct to remove the blockage.
According to Mayo Clinic, floaters are small spots or strings you can see that move along with the eyeball. Though painless, these floaters could be caused due to a retinal tear or a retinal detachment, requiring immediate attention. Floaters usually are caused as a result of ageing and the vitreous (a jelly like substance) in the eyes becomes watery. The microscopic fibres in the vitreous cast shadows in the retina, which are called floaters. Rush to the doctor if you see more floaters than usual, or sudden flashes of light in the same eye as the floaters, or experience peripheral vision loss.
The most annoying of all, the entrance of a foreign object in the eye can cause redness and dryness. Rubbing your eyes won’t make it any better. Sometimes, the simplest solution is rinsing the eyes with cold water to flush the particle out. But if you are unable to remove it, and are experiencing some kind of problem in your eyes, rush to the doctor.
Also known as ptosis, this condition refers to the falling of the eyelid due to stretching of the levator muscle in adults, or poorly developed levator muscle in children. It is called unilateral when it affects one eye, and bilateral when it is present in both eyes. It can also be congenital or acquired. Mostly caused due to ageing, trauma and other medical disorders, this condition reduces the person’s vision to a considerable extent. The condition can be treated medically and hence there is not much to be stressed about if it is checked in time by the doctor.
A stye is a small lump at the edge of the eyelid that causes redness and swelling of the eyes. Styes are of two types: Hordoleum and Chalazion. Hordoleum is caused due to the blockage in the sebaceous glands, while Chalazion is caused due to a blockage in the meibomian glands. These blockages are caused due to insufficient production of oil. It can happen to both children and adults. A stye does not need a serious medical treatment. However, a warm cloth can be dipped in water and used on the eye to relieve discomfort.
Here are a few tips that you can follow to avoid these problems:
- Never rub your eyes. Rinse your eyes with cold water if you feel any sort of irritation.
- Always wash your hands before putting on contact lenses.
- Schedule an eye exam with your doctor every few months to stay updated about your eye health.
- Consult your eye doctor in case of allergies. Do not treat them on your own.
- If you are too much on the computer or any other gadget, always apply the 20-20-20 rule: take a break from the computer screen every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
- Only use eye drops that are prescribed by your doctor.
Our eyes go through a lot amid the dust and pollution that we deal with every single day. The signs and symptoms may seem harmless, but one never knows what they may lead to. Remember that extensive care and protection, and recognising the early signs, can save your vision.
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