Eye Conditions and Diseases
The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that lies over the white portion of the eye. It contains many of the lubricating cells of the eye and many small fragile blood vessels. If one of these small vessels or capillaries ruptures, it can result in bleeding into the conjunctiva. This often appears as a bright red area on the white part of the eye.
The most common cause of a subconjunctival hemorrhage is rubbing the eye. Other causes include heavy lifting, coughing, sneezing, or straining during a bowel movement.
There are usually no symptoms associated with subconjunctival hemorrhage, although some people complain of a sharp pain when the hemorrhage begins. A subconjunctival hemorrhage is not a sign of any disease that causes vision loss and tends to fade over the following 1 – 3 weeks with no treatment.
Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation of the eyelids, generally around the eyelashes.
The symptoms of blepharitis are:
- Redness of the eyelid margin
People with the condition also have an increased incidence of sties and chalazions (lumps in the eyelids). Chronic blepharitis can contribute to the development of dry eye syndrome, as it dams the glands that secrete fluids to lubricate the eye.
Treatment of blepharitis is directed at eyelid hygiene. In the morning, a hot compress can be applied to the eyelids for 5 – 10 minutes. Lid scrubs to clean the lashes should follow this. Different lid cleaning systems with an antiseptic solution are available to help clean the lashes and lids. The antiseptics can be found at any local drug store. Baby shampoo and a Q-tip also can suitably keep the lashes clean.
If an infection is present, antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed. In severe cases, oral antibiotics may be necessary.
Trichiasis is a condition in which the eyelashes are turned toward the eyeball. It is caused when the structures that point the lashes away from the eye lose their function.
Symptoms of Trichiasis include:
- Irritation (chronic rubbing of the eyelashes can lead to permanent scarring of the cornea)
- Foreign body sensation in the eye
- Watering or epiphora (excessive tear production)
- Corneal ulcer
Treatment of Trichiasis consists of either mechanical removal of lashes or permanent destruction of the eyelash follicle. Mechanical removal of the turned-in lashes only provides temporary relief because the lashes will grow back and turn into the eye again.
Permanent destruction of the eyelash follicle is the only way to prevent the lashes from growing back. This can be achieved with one of two procedures:
Electrolysis: After local anesthesia is injected into the eyelid, a small wire is placed into the eyelash follicle. An electro current cauterizes the follicle. This kills the follicle, in turn keeping the lash from growing back.
Cryosurgery: After local anesthesia is injected into the eyelid, a freezing probe is placed on the eyelid near the lash that is turning in toward the eye. This area is frozen, killing the eyelash follicle.
Dry eyes are one of the most common eye problems, and they become more common as we age. The glands in the eye that secrete tears diminish over time. The eye depends on a constant supply of lubrication to maintain the health of the cells on its surface. A good tear film promotes clear vision. With the lack of proper tears on the surface of the eye, cells become damaged and initiate the cause of symptoms, which include:
- Dry sensation, upper and lower eyelids sticking together
- Foreign body or gritty sensation
- Itching of the eye or around the edges of the eyelids
- Blurred vision that comes and goes
- Watery eyes (eyes are so dry and irritated that they start to water)
- Redness due to the eyes being irritated and not protected by the nourishing
Effects of a normal tear film also is very common.