The Health Advocate

 
by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

 
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People value the health of their eyes and work to make sure they remain healthy, but like every other bodily system, the eyes are subject to their own troublesome conditions and diseases. Fortunately, most common eye issues are treatable. Don’t ignore the warning signs though. Here are five common eye issues and ways to prevent them:

Conjunctivitis

This condition is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, or the white of the eye. It’s also called pink eye because it turns the white pink. Conjunctivitis has a variety of causes including viruses, bacteria, exposure to smoke or allergens. Pink eye is very contagious but easy to treat and somewhat easy to avoid. The best way to prevent pink eye is to wash hands frequently and stay away from irritants that can cause it. Pink eye can be treated with a solution of distilled water and boric acid delivered in eyedroppers and over-the-counter or prescription medications. These types of eye diseases can also be prevented by avoiding touching your face or eyes. Make sure you are washing your hands before rubbing or touching around your eye, especially if you have been out in public.

Iritis

As conjunctivitis is inflammation of the white of the eye, iritis is an inflammation of the colored part of the eye. It’s also called anterior uveitis. This condition can be caused by injury to the eye or an infection. In some cases, the cause is unknown. The symptoms of iritis can appear suddenly and can affect both eyes. The symptoms include pain in the eye, sensitivity to light, redness and tearing. The person can have blurry vision and may see floaters. Sometimes the pupil is smaller in the affected eye. There is no one way to prevent iritis, though patients who have episodes of the condition can be treated with steroid eye drops.

Dry Eye

Dry eye happens when the surface of the eye isn’t as moist as it should be because of a problem with tear production. It usually affects both eyes though one eye may have more pronounced symptoms. Preventing dry eye largely entails avoiding risk factors such as vitamin A deficiency and possibly an improper contact lens use. Dry eye treatment includes artificial tears that can be bought over the counter.

Keratitis

This is an inflammation of the cornea, the clear membrane over the pupil and the iris. As with the other problems mentioned, it can occur in one eye or both eyes. The symptoms of keratitis can be mild or severe. It can be prevented by protecting the eyes during sports, getting prompt treatment for eye problems and the proper use of contact lenses. Treatment for keratitis also involves eye drops to fight bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Lazy Eyes

While this condition isn’t a disease, it’s still an issue to be aware of. A lazy eye can be common and is usually corrected with glasses or contacts. However, it is important to catch it early on. If you have children, make sure you are aware of this and notice any changes in their vision. Failing to correct a lazy eye early on can sometimes lead to worsening vision issues down the road.

Dry eye, keratitis, iritis, pink eye, and lazy eyes are just five of the conditions that can affect the eye. Good hygiene can usually prevent most of them, and even if they arise they can be treated successfully. Make sure you are treating your vision as importantly as you would other areas of your health and remember the tips explained above.




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