Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation - a long-term swelling - of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. It may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, acne, bacterial infection, allergic reaction or poor eyelid hygiene. The eyes may become red or blurry, as well as tear frequently. The eyelids crust, flake, scale or redden, and the smooth inside lining of the lids may become rough. In more serious cases, sores can form when the crusting skin is removed, the eyelashes may fall out, the eyelids can deform, the infection can spread to the cornea, and patients often suffer from excessive tearing. Blepharitis can also cause styes, chalazia and problems with the tear film.
Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crust and dandruff shampoo can help keep the eyelids clear. This may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the problems.
Presbyopia is a natural change in our eyes' ability to focus. It occurs when the soft crystalline lens of the eye starts to harden. This loss of flexibility affects the lens' ability to focus light in the eye, causing nearby objects to look blurry. Presbyopia happens to everyone starting in about our 40s or 50s -- even in patients who have had laser vision correction.
The effects of presbyopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, including bifocals and multifocals; multifocal lens implantation, including Crystalens™, ReZoom® and ReSTOR®; conventional surgery; and monovision LASIK. Laser surgeries such as conventional LASIK and PRK cannot correct presbyopia because they reshape the cornea rather than treat the lens.
Flashes and Floaters
Although most flashes and floaters occur in people with healthy or merely nearsighted eyes, they can be symptoms of serious problems including injury and retinal and posterior vitreous detachments. Flashes in vision are caused by pressure on the retina, the bundle of nerves in the back of the eye where images are detected and transmitted to the brain. Patients complain of flashing lights or lightning streaks.
Floaters are often seen when fibers move within the vitreous humor, the gelatinous substance made of water and protein fibers that fills the eye. Patients complain of small specks or dots that can be seen against clear backgrounds. Serious vision loss can occur if the retina or vitreous detach from the eye wall. Patients experiencing flashes and floaters should contact their doctor immediately so an examination can be performed.
Pterygium is a benign growth of the conjunctiva (lining of the white part of the eye) that grows into the cornea, which covers the iris (colored part of the eye). It can eventually lead to impaired vision.
Patients with pterygium often first notice the condition because of the appearance of a lesion on their eye or because of dry, itchy irritation. Other symptoms include dryness, redness, irritation, inflammation, and tearing. In more severe cases, the pterygium grows over the pupil and limits vision.
The most common pterygium treatment is eye drops (artificial tears) and use of sunglasses. In more severe cases when vision is impaired, surgery may be recommended.
Eye injuries refer to any type of trauma that occurs in or near the eye, and may be a result of an accident, scratch, puncture or contamination. An eye injury can be a traumatic event for patients of all ages, and may cause swelling, redness, bleeding, pain and other troubling symptoms.
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, treatment may include ice, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication or surgery. Treatment should be sought as soon as possible, as severe eye injuries can sometimes lead to permanent damage. The best treatment against eye injuries is to prevent them from occurring in the first place by protecting your eyes and taking safety precautions whenever necessary.
Styes and chalazia are small fluid-filled cysts that develop along the eyelid as a result of an infection or blocked oil gland. While these bumps do not usually lead to any serious complications, they may cause pain, swelling and tearing of the eye. Larger chalazia may gradually obstruct vision.
A stye appears on the eyelid as a small red bump, while a chalazion is similar but usually larger and not as painful. Styes usually heal within a week, while chalazia can take up to a few months.
Many styes and chalazia go away on their own with no need for treatment other than warm, wet compresses. In some cases chalazia that do not heal may need to undergo surgical incision and drainage which is a simple procedure performed in the office. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops or recommend over-the-counter treatments for those that do not heal on their own. Patients should avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses until after the stye or chalazia has healed.