The Most SeriousCommon Eye Problems
Of all five senses, most people will put as much of an importance on their vision as any other of the five. Indeed, the ability to see the world around us and take visual cues from other people is absolutely essential. Good vision is something you should be thankful for, and whatever you can do to be proactive in maintaining it is obviously advisable. Having your eyesight degenerate to some extent as you age is natural, but for some people having less than 20/20 vision isn’t the primary concern when it comes to their eyes. There are a number of eye problems and eye conditions that afflict people and ones that will require treatment.
We’ll look at all of them, and discuss their symptoms as well as what sorts of treatment options exist for each condition. Eye conditions in adults tend to be more problematic, as older people are not blessed with the regenerative capacities that young people are. Fortunately, ophthalmologists are able to do a great deal to help folks with their eye problems these days, and your family physician will almost certainly be happy to refer you to one if necessary.
Common and Serious Eye Problems, and Their Symptoms
There are many eye problems that can affect people, and to cover them all would make this page far too long. So we’ll only cover the most serious common eye problems here, discussing symptoms and treatment options along with them.
Glaucoma is one of the eye problems that comes with serious risks, and in this case the risk associated with glaucoma is a big one – blindness. It is caused when intraocular pressure in the eyeball builds up to the point that it begins to damage the optic nerve.
Fortunately, glaucoma is one of the very treatable eye conditions in adults, and your physician will most likely put you on course of prescription medication with a med like Combigan (brimonidine / timolol) or Lumigan (bimatoprost). It is also well established that the cannabinoids in marijuana can lower intraocular pressure, and you don’t necessarily need to smoke it to get the plant’s benefits.
Increasing your level of physical exercise is recommended for glaucoma sufferers, as exercise lowers intraocular pressure. Limiting nicotine intake from smoking (quitting ideally) and caffeine from coffee and soft drinks is recommended too.
Any discussion of eye conditions in adults that pose serious risks of vision impairment will have to include cataracts. They are cloudy areas that develop in the lens of the eye, and they’re somewhat common among people upwards of 60 years of age. Proteins in the lens of the eye clumping is what causes cataracts, and when they form they prevent light from passing through the lens naturally.
The individual then has difficulty seeing well, and may also see a constant glare or halos around lights when seeing them at night. The standard treatment for cataracts is to have the individual wear eyewear that improves their vision and minimizes the cataract’s impairment of it, or in cases where that is insufficient then surgery to remove the cataract will be necessary. Fortunately, cataract surgery is entirely safe and the success rates for it continue to be very high.
Age-related macular degeneration occurs when a small, central part of the retina called the macula begins to deteriorate. It is one of the more serious eye problems for older adults, and there are two types of macular degeneration; dry form and wet form. The dry form of the condition involves deposits building up in the macula and causing it to degrade. The most notable symptom for it is distorted or dimmed vision when trying to read.
Wet form macular degeneration involves abnormal blood vessel growth stemming for another component of the eye, the choroid, that is located under the macula. When these blood vessels burst they leak blood and fluid into the retina, and over time this results in scar tissue forming and permanent eye damage that comes along with it.
Treatment for macular degeneration usually involves anti-angiogenic drugs like Macugen (pegaptanib) and Lucentis (ranibizumab) that are actually injected directly into the eye by a physician or ophthalmologist. They stop the neovascularization process that furthers macular degeneration. Laser therapy is also used to treat macular degeneration.
It’s understood that supplementing your diet with beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, Zinc, and copper can help to prevent macular degeneration.
There are a number of different diseases – keratitis of the cornea, corneal dystrophy, keratoconus, corneal ulcers, and Fuch’s Dystrophy - that can damage the cornea, the clear dome shaped ‘window’ that is at the outermost part of the eye. Corneal disease symptoms for each include red and watery eyes, ongoing dull or sharp pain, and reduced version or the ‘halo’ effect discussed earlier.
Corneal diseases are most often treated with medicated eye drop medications like Ocuflox and Iquix, and in severe cases surgery may be the best option for effective relief and long-term health of the eye.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Pink eye is one the common eye problems that’s seen in people of all ages. It involves the tissue that lines the back of your eyelids and covers the sclera becoming inflamed due to the presence of a bacterial invasion. The eye becomes so inflamed that it is quite literally pink in appearance. The best pink eye treatment is prevention, wash your hands if you’ve had any exposure to substances or environments that are unclean and don’t touch your eye area if you have been in them and haven’t washed your hands.