Regular eye examinations with an Optometrist are recommended every one to two years.  These visits with your eye doctor determine whether your eyesight requires correction through prescribed glasses or contact lenses and monitors the health of your eyes. Some eye conditions can be present without any obvious symptoms and early detection is very important.  If you notice any changes with your vision or the physical appearance of your eye it is important to contact your optometrist as soon as possible for proper assessment. 

Here is information about 3 common eye conditions and what you should do if find yourself experiencing any of them.

Allergies

Anyone who suffers from allergies knows how much their eyes can be affected. Although the symptoms are really irritating, they are not threatening to your eyesight. The culprits of this annoying issue can be any number of things like pollen, dust mites, pet dander and many others. The allergy occurs when our immune system misfires and releases histamines because it cannot cope with the trigger causing the allergy. These histamines cause the uncomfortable reactions. 

Symptoms:

  • Red itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • A burning feeling in the eye
  • Swollen eyelids when you wake

Treatment:

  • Apply cold compresses to alleviate the itchiness  
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Avoid the allergen if known
  • Over-the counter antihistamines in pill or eyedrop form
  • Possibility of receiving a prescription for an antihistamine by the optometrist at a lower or more effective dosage than those available over the counter
  • Your eye doctor may prescribe a topical anti-inflammatory in more serious cases (often to calm the burning sensation for a short period time)

Sty

A sty is an infection of the oil gland. At the base of our eyelashes are small glands that release meibum, an oily substance that keeps our tears from evaporating. When one of the glands gets clogged it can cause an infection.  How do our oil glands get plugged?  Rosacea and blepharitis are linked to appearance of sties, as well as poor eyelid hygiene such as using expired or old make-up, not removing make-up completely before going to bed or if you have a tendency to touch your eyes with hands. Sties are generally harmless, will not directly affect your vision and can be treated quite easily. However, you can’t ignore the problem because, like any infection, if left unresolved can spread and lead to more serious eye health issues. 

Symptoms:

  • A red bump which resembles a pimple or boil, on the lower or top li
  • Excessive tearin
  • Eye pai
  • Swelling of the eyelid

Treatment:

  • Don’t squeeze or try to puncture the sty!  
  • Apply warm compresses to your affected eye for 5 to 10 minutes a few times a day, and massage the area gently. Ideally, the temperature should be constant. You can use a hot magic bag or you can boil an egg that you cover with a clean cloth and apply to the affected area.
  • Use wipes to thoroughly clean the base of the lashes
  • There is no need to see your eye doctor, unless the sty is still present after 48 hours or the redness or swelling spreads beyond the affected area.

Dry Eye Syndrome

This condition, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, arises when your tears cannot provide enough lubrication for your eyes. The tears may be insufficient or in some cases the tears are of poor quality. The overall cause may be an imbalance in the mixture that makes up your tears: water (aqueous layer), oil (lipid layer) and mucus (mucin layer). Certain external agents can also contribute to dry eyes, such as environmental factors, side effects of certain drugs, smoking, aging and menopause.

Symptoms:

  • Your eyes may sting, burn or scratch
  • Your eyes may secrete sticky mucus in and around them
  • Eye strain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • The feeling that there is something in your eye or a gritty feeling
  • Headache
  • Fluctuating vision

Treatment:

  • Think about blinking more often more specifically when reading or looking at your computer screen for a long period of time.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors to reduce exposing your eyes to the wind and sun
  • Add omega 3 fatty acids to your diet
  • Try lubricant drops or ointments found at your local pharmacy
  • Avoid smoking
  • Try to limit your exposure to air conditioning or increase ambient humidity at work or at home
  • If these treatments do not relieve you or if you think you have another problem, consult your optometrist

Contact your nearest IRIS store for any eye-related issues!