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Keeping a Close Watch on Eye Diseases

Eye diseases should not be taken for granted. There are some that can cause blindness and death if left alone and untreated. The following are eye diseases that may start from the eyes themselves:

Orbital Cellulitis

This is a disease that is restricted in the eye socket. This may be a result of an infection in the sinus or even the tooth. Another possible cause is trauma suffered by the eye.

Proper antibiotic management done on an inpatient basis can treat this disease. Complete recovery of the patient is expected. Take note however that orbital cellulites may lead to fatal complications because of additional pressure inside the brain. Abscess in the brain and meningitis may develop because of this disease.

Ocular Melanoma

Melanoma is actually a cancer involving pigmented cells that may happen anywhere in the skin. These pigmented cells are also located in the eyes.  These pigmented cells may become affected and can develop into an eye disease called ocular melanoma, which is the primary cancer most common to the eye.

This eye disease usually develops on the patient’s iris and in the back portion of the eye. It has the ability to spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Treatment is done locally. Your eye doctor will have to make sure that the tumor has yet to spread outside the eye. Otherwise, systemic therapy is required.  Larger tumors might also necessitate enucleation, which is a procedure that involves the removal of the eye.  Obviously the earlier on can diagnose a melanoma of the eye the better.

Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a cancer that usually only affects children. Unlike the abovementioned ocular melanoma that starts from the iris, this eye disease develops from the cells in the retina.

While the treatment is geared towards saving as much vision as possible, more often than not, it requires the removal of the eye so that the tumor will not spread any further. Death is rarely reported for this eye disease so long as it is diagnosed early and treated promptly.

Retinoblastoma, however, can still be fatal if not dealt with immediately. As many as 7,000 children, mostly in non developed countries, around the world have passed away as a result of this eye disease. This rarely happens in the more developed nations, though the disease itself still occurs with 300 cases being reported in the United States the previous year.

As with any disease, early diagnosis and immediate treatment will improve the chance of a patient in making a full and complete recovery. Even ocular emergencies can lead to some form of vision loss, or even complete blindness, if left untreated. Patients of such ocular emergencies, like those suffering from occlusion of the central retinal artery, detachment of the retina, or any penetrating injury to the eyes, would do well to immediately consult with an emergency physician at the least, or even an eye doctor, if possible.

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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