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D to G of Eye Diseases and Disorders

There are many eye diseases and disorders. The previous and following posts are by no means exhaustive.  What is important to realise is that the eyes are very complex and important organs.  they should not be taken for granted.  Consistent eye care by an optometrist is your best insurance against most of the diseases and disorders.  See your optometrist now.

 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Anyone suffering from diabetes may begin to show complications that include something called retinopathy – damage to the blood vessels in the retina.

Initial form of treatment involves effective management of the diabetes, and any high blood pressure and cholesterol.  If allowed to progress then laser or steroid injections can be effective.

Aggressive control of the diabetes is always the best approach.

Double Vision

May be monocular – still present when one eye is covered, or binocular – the double vision goes away when either of the eyes is covered.

If the double vision is muscle related then surgery or a programme of muscle therapy can be undertaken. After a full eye examination by an optometrist and possibly an ophthalmologist it may be that a neurologist needs to be consulted to assess eye/brain functioning.  This is especially true if it occurs suddenly in adulthood.

Dry Eyes

Just about everyone gets dry eyes now and again, but persistent dry eyes may be a symptom of something more.

Environment is a main cause, with people staring at computers for too long without blinking; the eye needs to blink every 3 seconds. Air-conditioning, especially noticeable in aircraft is another culprit.

Prevention by following an eye exercise regime is best, but over the counter eye drops provide a remedy.

Episcleritis

It is an inflammation of the thin outer layer of the outer coat of the white part of the eyeball. No intervention is necessary normally with symptoms clearing up after a couple of weeks; mild over the counter eye drops can be used (and it might just mean a quicker recovery).

The definitive treatment will be topical steroids but a therapeutic optometrist should only prescribe these after a careful eye examination.

Epithelial Herpetic Keratitis

Herpes keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) is the most common of the eye herpes and also goes by the name epithelial keratitis – it affects the cornea on the top superficial layer of the surface of the cornea called the epithelium.

Eye Strain

You know you are suffering from eye strain when your eyes are dry and itchy.

And you know why you are – too much time staring at a computer screen without blinking enough to lubricate the eyes.  Try the 20-20-20 exercise of every 20 minutes looking away for 20 seconds at something 20 feet (6 metres).

Eye strain could of course be due to eye focus and eye muscle problems, so book an eye examination with an optometrist to get your eyes functioning at full efficiency again.

Floaters

Floaters is a very descriptive term of a condition where small shadows or wisps may be seen gradually floating across the line of vision, especially when looking at a light background – but they do not exist!

The gel in the eyeball may in time become watery and small pieces of gel cast a shadow on the retina, so an image is sent to the brain.

Floaters are not anything to be concerned about, most people have them. Do become concerned however if multiple floaters suddenly happen, then seek Optometrical attention.

Fungal Keratitis

Fungal keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) can appear following infection from touching plant material in the garden for example, but also from using steroids when treating problems associated with eye problems or not taking the required precautions when using contact lenses.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

A reactive type of conjunctivitis that is not infectious. It describes particularly the inflammation that results from a foreign body in the eye. In recent years with the advent of disposable contact lenses, any inflammation caused by their use – being a foreign body – is now called GPC to the extent that it is now almost the sole meaning.

Glaucoma

Often called the “silent thief of sight” since development of glaucoma goes undetected. If for any reason the pressure in the eye increases, it’s likely to lead to degeneration of the optic nerve to such an extent that sight is lost.

Glaucoma damage cannot be reversed but careful management can slow down or halt its progress.

About the Author

Dr Jim Kokkinakis (Optometrist) graduated in 1983 from the Optometry School University of NSW. He is currently a Senior Lecturer there and regular speaker to both Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in Australia and Internationally. He has a specialist clinical practice in the Sydney CBD with interests in Eye Strain, Computer Vision problems, Treatment of Eye Diseases and complex Contact lens Fittings.

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