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One of the most common ailments that affect elders the most is cataract. Cataract develops gradually and can occur in one or both eyes and if not treated in time can cause blindness. Most cataracts are not visible to the naked eye, but in some cases, a dense cataract can make the pupil appear white. A cataract can be defined as a dense, cloudy build up of protein masses on the eye lens. This obstructs the light falling on the retina and does not allow the retina to form a clear image.
Advancing in age is one of the most common causes of cataracts. Along with this, there are several other factors that play a role in the development of cataracts as well. These include smoking,exposure to ultraviolet radiation, long term use of steroids, trauma, radiation therapy and diabetes. Anything that triggers an overproduction of chemically altered oxygen molecules in the body can increase your risk of suffering from this condition. Hypertension and a family history of cataracts can also put you at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Poor nutrition or a diet that is deficient in antioxidants can also put you at a high risk of suffering from this condition.
Cataracts can be categorized on the basis of where and how they develop in the eye. This categorization is based on location:
- Nuclear Cataract: These develop in the middle of the lens and turn the center of the eye yellow. Nuclear cataracts are typically associated with aging.
- Cortical cataract: These develop around the edges of the nucleus and are wedge shaped. Gradually, spokes emitted from these wedges work themselves towards the center of the eye.
- Posterior capsular cataract: These are among the faster growing cataracts and develop at the back of the lens.They are also known as subcapsular cataracts. Cataracts triggered by diabetes or the prolonged use of steroids usually fall in this category.
Categorization based on how they develop:
- Congenital cataract: These are present at birth or develop within the first year of a baby's life. Congenital cataracts are rare.
- Secondary cataract: These are triggered as a side effect of medications or diseases like glaucoma and diabetes. Prolonged use of steroids like prednisone can also lead to the development of such cataracts.
- Traumatic cataract: Cataract that is developed as a result of an injury to the eye is known as traumatic cataracts. They have a very slow rate of development.
- Radiation cataract: It develops as a side effect of radiation therapy used to treat cancer.
An eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis is a condition that strikes when certain substances irritate the eyes, which can cause a reaction. This reaction has varied symptoms starting from inflammation to watering and even redness and an itching sensation. So how can you tell if you have an eye allergy? This article will tell you all you need to know!
Causes: To begin with, this is an immune response that happens when the eye comes in contact with substances like dirt, grime, pollutants, pollen, nettle, pet hair, smoke, mold and more, which may cause irritation. These are typically known as allergens. The immune system takes these allergens to be invaders and begins attacking the same by releasing chemicals that cause these allergic reactions. Also, an eye allergy may be a symptom or outcome of other conditions like asthma, hay fever, or even eczema.
Symptoms: The eye usually bears a pink or red appearance when the patient is suffering from an eye allergy. Also, watery eyes are a common sight during this condition while scaling around the eyes may also take place. Further, itching and burning sensation may be felt by the patient and swelling or puffiness can be seen. The symptoms may afflict one or both eyes. The patient may also have a runny nose or stuffy nose as well as nasal congestion.
Difference between Eye Allergy and Pink Eye: Conjunctivitis or pink eye is usually caused due to bacteria or a virus that spreads infection in the eye. But eye allergy is caused due to a response of the immune system that leads to an allergic reaction. While the pink eye may be a contagious condition, an eye allergy is not.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of an eye allergy will be done with the help of various tests conducted by an ophthalmologist. The skin prick test will help in introducing allergens to find out if the spot gets raised or suffers from inflammation. Also, the doctor will check for other ailments like asthma and eczema.
Treatment: There are varied methods of treating this condition. To begin with, the doctor may prescribe medication like decongestants and antihistamines as well as steroids for more severe and persistent cases. Also, injections may be prescribed in order to do away with the allergic reaction and eye drops containing olopatadine hydrochloride may also be used.
Home Remedies: Staying away from allergens and using a warm and clean washcloth over the eyes, for a few minutes every day, may help in relieving the painful symptoms of the condition.
Do not forget to consult your doctor before you try any natural or home based remedies. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
There are many kinds of conditions that affect the eyes and make vision difficult - temporarily or even permanently. Uveitis is one such condition that causes eye inflammation in the middle layer of the tissue that resides in the wall of the eye - also known as the Uvea. The progression of the condition is sudden and the symptoms, quite painful. Let us get to know more with this article.
Causes: To understand any condition and how it is to be treated, one must first understand the causes of the said condition. While the specific causes behind the onset of Uveitis are not clear, this inflammatory disorder may be caused as a side effect of others like an autoimmune disorder including those like ankylosing spondylitis or even sarcoidosis. Also, infections such as cat scratch disease, syphilis, West Nile virus and others may cause this kind of inflammatory condition that also affects the eyes. Lymphoma is also a kind of cancer that can be found in the eyes, which can create Uveitis. Finally, eye injuries and surgeries may cause this condition too.
Symptoms: This condition has a variety of symptoms that may flare up suddenly. There are very few cases in which these symptoms start and progress gradually. Redness and pain in the eyes is one of the most commonly experienced symptoms while decreased vision and sensitivity towards glares of light may also be felt by people suffering from this condition. One may also see dark spots floating around and the vision may get blurred as an effect.
Onset of Symptoms: The symptoms usually depend to a great degree on the part of the eye that gets affected by this condition. The Uvea also consists of the iris, the choroid, and the ciliary body even as it enables blood flow to the deep layers of the retina.
Medication: In order to treat mild to moderate cases, the ophthalmologist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication like corticosteroids, as well as bacteria fighting medicines like antibiotics. Also, immunosuppressants can be used to deal with slightly more severe cases.
Surgery: Very severe cases will require surgical procedures like a Vitrectomy to remove the vitreous in the eye for better management of the condition. Also, with surgery, the doctor can implant a device that leads to a slow release of medication on a constant basis so that the treatment and prevention of the condition goes on, unhindered. Yet, this method can also come with side effects like the onset of glaucoma.
The severity of the symptoms as well as the extent of the damage will pretty much determine the speed of your recovery as far as this condition is concerned.
If you thought smoking was causing damage to only your lungs, thing again. Your eyesight, one of your most valuable possessions, is at high risk of damage because of your bad habit.
The damage done to your eyes by cigarettes happens from two sources; the toxic smoke that hangs in the air which surrounds you as you puff on the cigarettes and 4000 odd toxic substances that enter your bloodstream once you smoke. In extreme cases, smoking also causes loss in vision. Here is a list of eye disorders and diseases, which can be caused due to smoking-
The risk of developing Age-related Macular Degeneration is there for people above the age of fifty. In case of smokers, the chance of developing AMD is three times more than in nonsmokers. It has been proven that smokers develop the chance of AMD ten years prior to non smokers.
This process involves the clouding of the lens inside the eye. Cataract develops with old age, usually. The risk of developing early cataract is common among smokers, who are twice at risk of cataract than non smokers. The effect of the cataract in the case of smokers is more severe.
Glaucoma is the eye disorder where the death of nerve fiber layer behind our eyes takes place, and that results in loss of vision. The increase in pressure within the eyes leads to glaucoma. Smoking enhances the pressure in your eyes, and so smokers are at a potential risk of acquiring this disease.
Diabetic eye diseases
A number of eye diseases are accompanied with diabetes. This can result in blindness when left ignored or not paid attention to in severe cases. Diabetic patients who are smokers are three times more at a risk of eye diseases associated with diabetes.
This eye disease causes sudden loss of vision to the eyes without any pain. It happens due to the disrupted flow of blood in the arteries of the eyes. Smokers are 16 times more at a risk of developing optic neuropathy at an earlier age.
Thyroid associated eye diseases
Patients having thyroid issues or Grave's disease have disorders in their vision. Grave's disease patients who smoke tobacco are likely to develop severe eye diseases associated with the thyroid.
Smoking causes irritation to the eyes and affects the tear film of the eye. Smokers and passive smokers are likely to develop dry eye disorders. Smoking causes a lot of eye diseases and disorders, and smokers are at a higher risk of acquiring eye diseases than non smokers.
Sight is one of our most important senses. To ensure that your vision is not compromised, regular eye examinations are essential. This is regardless of age and overall health because the only way to diagnose conditions in the eye in the early stages is with a comprehensive eye exam. By arresting them in the early stages, many eye disorders can be easily controlled and treated.
During a routine eye examination, the doctor will look into a number of aspects of your eye's health. An eye examination can also indicate serious health issues like diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Some of the conditions an eye doctor looks for during an eye exam are:
If you already have a prescription this will be checked. In other cases, the strength of the eye muscles is checked for near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism which can be corrected with lasik surgery, spectacles or lenses. The earlier a refractive error is corrected, the lower are its chances of increasing. When it comes to children, they often do not realize signs of vision deterioration and hence, an eye examination becomes essential.
This is a condition where one eye has a much higher refractive error than the other or where the eyes are misaligned. If this is not treated in time, amblyopia can stunt vision in the affected eye and result in blindness.
Crossed or turned eyes are termed as cases of strabismus. This is caused by the misalignment of the eyes and can cause problems with depth perception. This can lead to amblyopia and eventual blindness if not treated in time.
Focusing and communicative problems between the eyes
An eye examination can also determine problems with focusing on objects. With children this can be a sign of underdeveloped focusing skills while in adults it can be a symptom of presbyopia or age related diminished focusing ability. Your doctor will also check how well your eyes work together. If they do not work in tandem, it can cause headaches, eye strains and problems with reading.
By looking at the blood vessels and retina of the eyes, doctors can detect signs of high blood pressure, cholesterol etc. Leaks in the blood vessels or bleeding in the eyes can also be a sign of diabetes or swelling of the macula.
Age related conditions
As with the rest of the body, the eye tissues and muscles also degenerate with time. Cataract is one of the most common age related issues that affect the eyes.
Eye exercises might not necessarily improve eyesight but they help in preventing eye problems and maintaining the correct eyesight level. Eye exercises are usually designed to provide strength to eye muscles, while improving focus, allowing flexible eye movements and helping stimulate the vision centre of the brain.
- Palming: This exercise is also very simple to perform. All you have to do is cover your eyes with your palms. Once you have done this, just wait and see that there are no bright flashes of light. If you see that there is a bright flash of light, just wait till they go. This is used primarily to distress the eyes.
- Flexing: This is simply rotating your eyes in circles. Roll your eyes in the clockwise direction for one minute and then roll your eyes in the anticlockwise direction for one minute.
- Blinking: Your eyes get strained due to long hours of sitting at the computer or television and you tend to blink less. Whenever you blink, your eyes stay in darkness for a few microseconds that help to keep the eyes fresh, while reducing eye strain.
- Stretching: This is the most common and also one of the easiest to do. It requires you to just look up, hold for two seconds, look down, hold for two seconds and then repeat this procedure for each corner of your eye, which means top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom-right corners.
- Near and far focusing: This exercise helps in strengthening the eye muscles and improves the vision of your eyes.
It involves the following steps:
- Either sit or stand in a comfortable position for 2-3 minutes
- Bring your thumb about 10 inches in front of your eyes and try to focus on it
- Now try focusing on an object that is about 10-20 feet in front of your eyes
- Try switching between focusing on the other object and your thumb on each deep breath
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!