The eye consists of two surface layers covered by the epithelium. When the epithelial layer suffers damage, the patient receives a diagnosis of ocular disease. This individual may find their eyes are red and painful or they might struggle with poor vision. Without treatment, permanent damage may result. The doctor must determine the underlying cause of the disease to determine the correct course of treatment. What are some common ocular diseases?
Dry Eye Syndrome
When dealing with ocular disease, many people learn they suffer from dry eye syndrome. This ongoing condition develops when a person lacks a sufficient quantity of tears or the tears are of poor quality. Fortunately, treatment helps individuals address the dry, gritty feeling caused by this disease. However, a person might also experience mucous discharge, excess tearing, and redness. Their vision may fluctuate and they often find it difficult to wear contact lenses.
Symptoms often worsen when the person doesn’t blink regularly. For example, when they read or watch TV, they may not blink as often, and the dry eye symptoms become more apparent. These symptoms typically increase later in the day, as well.
Doctors often recommend treating dry eye syndrome by humidifying the air and avoiding drafts. If this isn’t enough to resolve the symptoms, the doctor may recommend artificial teardrops and other medications. If the disease progresses, punctual plugs, cautery of the tear drainage ducts, or small lateral tarsorrhaphy may become necessary.
Many other ocular conditions may cause these symptoms, such as blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and ocular allergies. Dry eye symptoms are often made worse by certain activities. During these activities, patients tend not to blink frequently. This includes when they are reading, working on the computer, or watching television. Dry eye symptoms are also generally worse toward the end of the day.
Doctors refer to inflammation of the eyelids as blepharitis. This chronic condition responds well to treatment, and many patients suffer from both anterior and posterior blepharitis. Symptoms seen with this ocular disease mimic those of dry eye syndrome. However, patients experience more redness and crusting of the eyelids. In addition, symptoms of blepharitis appear more often early in the morning and dissipate as the day progresses.
To treat blepharitis, doctors must first determine if the patient is suffering from anterior blepharitis, posterior blepharitis, or both. However, most patients respond to warm compresses, eyelid scrubs, and artificial tears. At times, antibiotics will be needed and the doctor might recommend topical steroids in certain cases. When the inflammation fails to respond to medical therapy, the doctor may perform a Lipiflow procedure in the office to clear out the Meibomian glands.
Additional Ocular Diseases
Ocular diseases come in many other forms. Countless individuals develop conjunctivitis each year, and diabetics must watch for signs of diabetic retinopathy. Macular degeneration becomes a concern as a person ages as do cataracts, and people of all ages remain at risk of glaucoma. Regular eye appointments with an optometrist or ophthalmologist help to catch these diseases early so treatment may begin and slow or halt the progression of the condition.
A person may become concerned when their doctor tells them they have an ocular disease. Regular eye checkups become of great benefit in identifying and managing these diseases, so a person should not panic. However, patients must follow the treatment plan outlined by the doctor to protect their eye health and vision. A person’s sight is too precious to lose, so monitor your eye health, see your eye doctor regularly, and follow all recommendations for excellent sight now and in the future.