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Archive for November, 2014

Dry Eyes: Who Gets This Condition and How To Treat It

Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 10:11 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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As the name suggests, Dry Eyes is a condition where an individual does not have enough tears in the eye to nourish and lubricate it. This condition leaves the eyes dry, uncomfortable and with improper vision. The clarity of vision is highly dependent on the health of the front part of the eye, and tears play a major role in maintaining that health.

Glands around the eyes secrete tears, which consist of oils, water, mucus, special proteins, and antibodies. When an individual blinks, the eyelids spread tears across the cornea and provide the lubrication, reduce the risk of infection, clean up, and clear up the eye. Small drain ducts in the corneas drain excess tears to the back section of the nose.

If the tear system is not working properly, poor quality tears or lack of enough tears usually results in dry eyes. Someone with dry eyes will usually experience the following symptoms:

  1. Sensitivity to light
  2. Pain the eyes
  3. Itching eyes
  4. Reddening eyes
  5. Deteriorating vision
  6. Feeling of sand in the eyes
  7. Excess production of tears

Excess tear production resulting in tears running down an individual’s face might sound contradictory to the condition, but it is a case of lack of tear lubrication. The nervous system can respond to dryness by flooding the eye with tears, a situation that does not meet the lubricating need of the eye. The excess watery tears only wash the eye, but do not contain the normal tear composition that the eye requires.

Who gets Dry Eyes?

Dry eyes can result from several factors, all of which affect the proper functioning of the tear film. The following are people who will most likely develop dry eyes:

  • People with eye correctional treatments

Lasik and other forms of eye surgeries can affect the proper functioning of the tear film. In addition, using contact lenses for many years can contribute to dry eyes.

  • People over 65 years

The natural aging process brings about conditions that affect the normal functioning of the body. Many people over 65 years will start developing dry eyes symptoms. Medical attention can help to relieve the dry eyes and its effects.

  • People in harsh environmental conditions

The environment has a role to play in contributing to dry eyes, and the worst conditions include smoke, dry climates, and winds. In addition, situations like staring at a computer that cause an individual not to blink for long periods can cause dry eyes.

  • Pregnant women

Women have a higher tendency to developing dry eyes compared to men. The factors that contribute to dry eyes in women include hormonal changes, which are a result of pregnancy, menopause, and use of some contraceptives.

  • People suffering from medical conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes, inflamed eyelids, rheumatic arthritis, and thyroid complications will usually result in dry eyes. In addition, most eyes related conditions and turning of the eyelids would lead to dry eyes.

  • People under medication

Some medication interferes with the production of tears, and people taking such medicines will experience dry eyes for as long as they are on that medication. Medication such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, and blood pressure medication lead to dry eyes.

Dry Eyes treatment

Although there is no cure for dry eyes today, an individual suffering from the condition can go for any of these treatment courses with consultation from an eye specialist:

1. Nutritional treatment

Adopting an omega-3 rich diet or taking fish oil can help people suffering from dry eyes to recover from the condition. Nutritional treatment is proving to be an effective and long-term form of treatment for this and other diseases.

2. Use tear drops

An individual can find a range of teardrops in his or her local pharmacy, and these can relieve the dry eyes effect. Although the different tear drops work differently on different people, it is important to get professional assistance with regard to the ones that will work for your eyes. These artificial tears play the role of normal tears, and help to keep eyes lubricated for the day.

3. Prescription eye drops

People suffering from chronic dry eyes can get prescription eye drops that can increase the eye’s ability to produce more tears.  An example of these drugs is Restasis, which is FDA approved and offers relief from the effects of dry eyes.

4. Closing tear drains

The eyes have tear drains, which in some cases can drain the eyes sooner than the tears have played their part. An individual in such a situation can therefore have his or her tear drain plugged temporarily or permanently, and give the tears an opportunity to play their part.

The Development Process of an Infant’s Vision

Monday, November 17, 2014 @ 05:11 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Your infant learns to see the same way he or she learns to walk and talk. Unfortunately, not every child is born with the vision capabilities they need to develop properly. A child’s ability to focus his or her eyes is what allows him or her to move with accuracy.

Processing Visual Information is a Learned Skill

From the moment your child is born he or she will start exploring the world with his or her eyes. Before they learn how to reach out and grab things, their eyes teach them. This is why your child’s vision is so important to his or her early development.

Vision and eye problems can cause significant developmental delays in children. This is why an important part of being a parent is knowing how to spot problems with your child’s vision.

The Steps in Which Your Infant’s Vision Develops

When your child is born, he or she will not be able to see as well as you do because their eyes have not had time to develop yet. During their first few months of life, there will be a significant improvement to how well they can see.

Newborn to Four Months

Until your baby is at least 3 months old, you should not expect him or her to focus on anything that is not very close to his or her face. From the moment your child is born, he or she will be consumed with visual stimulation. Everything will be fuzzy and overwhelming. It will take your child a while to adjust.

It is normal for your baby’s eyes to appear to wander or become crossed until about two months of age. If this continues into your baby’s third month, you should express concern to a doctor. At three months, you should notice your child’s interest in starting to follow moving objects.

Five to Eight Months

It is not until a child is five to six months old that he or she will start to develop depth perception. It is also believed that a child does not see color very well until the age of five or six months. Babies who learn to walk a lot earlier do not get the same vision development benefits of a baby who spends a lot of time crawling. This is because crawling helps develop your child’s hand and eye coordination better than walking does.

Nine to Twelve Months

Between nine and ten months is when the average baby learns how to pull him or herself up and start to cruise along objects. Even at twelve months, it is still a good idea to encourage crawling in order to help your child really develop his or her hand and eye coordination. By this point in your child’s development, he or she should have no trouble judging distance.

12 to 24 Months

By the time your child is two, he or she should have developed strong hand and eye coordination. He or she also should have great depth perception. Your child should not have any trouble recognizing objects he or she is familiar with.

Spotting Vision and Eye Problems

Eye and vision problems are uncommon in an infant, but they do happen. Some of the signs your infant has an eye and vision problem includes:

Lots of Tears: If your child sheds a lot of tears, it could mean his or her tear ducts are blocked.

Red Encrusted Eyelids: Sign of an eye infection.

Frequent Eye Turning: Problem with controlling eye muscle.

Noticeable Sensitivity to Light: Sign of too much pressure in the eye.

White Pupil: Sign of eye cancer.

If you notice any of these signs, you should take your child to a pediatrician or optometrist for an examination as soon as possible.

How Can You Help Your Child

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to help your child’s vision develop properly. This can include frequently changing the position of your child’s bed and putting a nightlight in his or her room. This also includes introducing your child to toys that can enhance your child’s find motor skills.

Even if you do not notice any vision or eye problems in your child, you should still schedule your infant for an eye examination after the age of six months. The optometrist will check for eye health issues, nearsightedness, astigmatism, farsightedness, and movement abilities. Chances are pretty good you have nothing to worry about because of how rare vision and eye problems in infants are. However, it is always better for you to find the problem early to help with the development of your child.

Understanding UV Radiation and How It Harms Vision

Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 04:11 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Understanding-UV-Radiation-and-How-It-Harms-Vision

Ultraviolet or UV light, is a necessity in this world. Plants rely on this light to exist, and humans and animals alike also require it. By now, you’ve heard all of the warnings about the dangers of unprotected exposure to sunlight. It can cause skin cancer and a number of other skin maladies. However, while you lather on that sunscreen, you’re probably not thinking much about how your eyes can be affected by UV light.

What Is UV Light?

As mentioned, UV light is that which emanates from the sun or other bright light sources. A few different kinds exist. UVA radiation has the most expansive wavelength and further breaks down into UVAI and UVAII wavelengths. UVB radiation then does not expand as far as UVA radiation can and does not have any other subtypes. UVA and UVB radiation can be harmful to both your eyes and your skin.

The third type of UV radiation is called UVC light. Unlike UVA and UVB radiation though, UVC radiation tends to exist on an ozone level only, where the ozone layer there prevents the radiation from ever affecting life on earth. Therefore, you only need to concern yourself with UVA and UVB radiation.

How Does UV Light Harm Vision?

If you’ve ever been warned never to look directly at the sun, then you’re aware that UV light can harm your eyes. The more that your eyes are exposed to UV radiation, the better the chances are that you could develop a number of eye conditions and disorders. Cataracts are a common result of too much sun exposure to the eyes. UVB radiation tends to be responsible for causing cataracts. Photokeratitis also goes by the name of corneal sunburn, which should be self-explanatory. This condition can lead to vision issues and very sore eyes. It too is caused primarily by UVB radiation.

Pterygium is caused by either UVA or UVB radiation. When you have this condition, a pink deformity appears on your eye whites, detracting from appearance and vision. The condition also goes by the name of surfer’s eye. You could also develop macular degeneration from too much sunlight. This condition is also caused by either UVA or UVB radiation. You can even develop skin cancer on your eyelids if you spend too much time outdoors without taking the proper precautions.

Of course, more than just sunlight puts you at risk of developing these vision disorders from UV radiation. If you go tanning a lot, work outside, live by or spend time in a mountainous area, take medications that alter how you react to light (such as sulfa medications, diuretics, tetracycline, or birth control), you’ve had cataract or other eye surgery, work with electronic circuit boards that emit bright light, you’ve had retinal issues in the past, or you live in the Sunbelt in the United States, you’re at increased risk of experiencing eye damage from UV radiation.

How Do You Protect Your Eyes from UV Light?

While you can apply sunscreen on your skin, you cannot do the same for your eyes. Your best protection from harmful UV rays from the sun or other sources is to wear UV sunglasses. You should read about the sunglasses before you purchase them and ensure that they do indeed block out both UVA and UVB light so that you know you’re getting the best vision protection. If you already wear glasses, speak to your eye doctor about your options. You can always order a pair of prescription sunglasses. Some types of lenses on regular glasses can change to become tinted when exposed to light, giving you another option.

You should also remember to wear a hat if you plan on spending a lot of time outside. For women, large sunhats will keep your face and thus your eyes protected, while for men, large-brimmed hats or even baseball hats (when the cap is positioned in the front) will provide adequate protection. You should wear a hat with sunglasses for the most protection.

Also, watch the times that you go outside. UV radiation changes with the rate of sunlight, so when the sun’s at its strongest at around 10 o’ clock in the morning until about two o’ clock in the afternoon, you should try to limit your time outdoors. As mentioned above, mountainous regions put you more at risk of UV radiation exposure due to their altitude. Lower altitudes mean less UV radiation. If you live close to the equator, your chances of UV exposure increase. In these cases, you may want to consider moving or at least limit your time outside.

Understanding and Preventing Retinal Detachment

Monday, November 3, 2014 @ 03:11 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Understanding-and-Preventing-Retinal-Detachment

Retinal detachment is by far one of the most severe eye conditions that you can experience, and one where you must act quickly to preserve what’s left of your vision. It’s important to understand what retinal detachment is, what the symptoms are, what you’d experience if your retina did detach, and how to quickly get help.

What Is Retinal Detachment?

Retinal detachment, as the name suggests, occurs when your eye’s retina somehow detaches or separates from its blood vessels. The retina itself is just tissue and is positioned far back on the eye. When your retina detaches from the blood vessels, it no longer gets the oxygen required for your eyes. This leads to vision loss.

What Causes Retinal Detachment?

You should also beware of the various causes of this dangerous condition. If you already have an eye disorder, particularly one in which the eye has become inflamed, your chances of a retinal detachment do increase. If you have an eye injury, it’s somewhat likely that the retina could detach. More advanced stages of diabetes could also cause problems with your blood vessels, leading to pressure that causes the retina to detach. Lastly, your eyes’ vitreous can become smaller. This is a smooth, jelly-like portion of your eyes that can influence the retina. You’re mostly at risk of vitreous problems as you begin to age.

What Are the Symptoms of Retinal Detachment?

Perhaps the scariest part of retinal detachment is that you may not feel anything at all if your retina does indeed separate. The process surprisingly does not hurt, so you may not notice that your retina has separated until it begins to negatively affect your vision. Look for the sudden onset of vision disturbances. For example, you will probably see bright light suddenly in what’s been called a flashing motion. It will look like lightning claps in front of your vision.

You may also notice floaters where none have ever existed before. If you already have floaters, these may be worse. Instead of just looking like tiny dots, they may also be longer and string-like. These will occur suddenly as well. The most obvious symptom is a darkening of your field of vision, often described like a shadow of darkness. This is indicative of the severity of retinal detachment and will continue to get worse if you don’t get immediate help.

What Do You Do If You Believe Your Retina Tore or Detached?

If you believe that you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms of retinal detachment, it’s crucial that you don’t wait to get help. As mentioned, retinal detachments are emergency situations, and any vision loss that occurs when suffering from one often cannot be restored. Therefore, calling for and receiving medical attention is the best way to preserve your vision.

Once you visit with your eye doctor, they will likely perform a series of tests to determine whether or not you really do have a retinal detachment. An ultrasonography displays sounds on a screen. Your eye doctor will use sound waves to reach your retina, reflecting the waves off of it and displaying the results on the screen. Alternately, your eye doctor may suggest an ophthalmoscope test, which uses a type of device with 3-D capability that easily picks up on a retinal detachment. Both tests will probably be used in conjunction with one another to make a full and proper diagnosis.

How Is Retinal Detachment Typically Treated?

Once your eye doctor determines that you have a retinal detachment, there are many ways to treat the condition. These surgical treatment methods vary depending on the severity of the detachment. If your retina only tore but did not fully detach, then cryopexy may be suggested. This procedure requires that a surgeon accesses your retinal tear and freezes it with a probe. This secures the retina in place. Photocoagulation uses lasers to secure the retina.

If your damage has progressed to a retinal detachment, surgery is still the answer. However, the procedures are often more intensive. Cryopexy and photocoagulation may also still be recommended. Retinal detachments can be treated with a scleral buckling, in which the surgeon adheres a piece of sponge or rubber to your eye’s sclera to reduce retinal pressure. A pneumatic retinopexy treats the eye’s vitreous through inserting gas or air bubbles into it to heal the retinal detachment. A vitrectomy will leak out any excess fluid or vitreous to reduce pressure on the retina.