Types of Eye Conditions
What is Chalazion
A chalazion is a harmless cyst caused by a blocked meibomian gland in the eyelid. Meibomian glands in the eyelid produce an oil which helps to keep the eye moist. If the gland becomes blocked, the oil builds up into a cyst which looks like a small lump in the eyelid. The lump can become irritated and red and, occasionally, infected.
Most cysts disappear with time but can take weeks and sometimes many months, to go away. They are normally harmless and can be safely left to get better with time in most cases.
Treatment for Chalazion
Warm compresses might speed up the disappearance of the cyst. Boil some water and let it cool a little, or use water from the hot tap. Water should be hot but not hot enough to burn. Soak cotton wool or a clean flannel in the water and gently press onto your eye closed eyelids for two to three minutes at a time, twice daily.
Occasionally, the doctor will prescribe a short course of antibiotic ointment or drops to help any irritation and, if there is infection spreading from the cyst, antibiotics by mouth. However, medication does not cause the cysts to disappear.
Surgical incision or excision may be used to remove large chalazions which do not respond to other treatments.
This procedure is called excision and curettage.
Conjunctivitis is an infection in the membrane lining the eye and inside the eyelids, called the conjunctiva. The eye becomes red, sticky or watery, and can be itchy, sore and uncomfortable. The infection can affect one eye or both eyes.
Infection can be caused by a virus (such as the common cold virus, the flu virus and many others) or, less often, by bacteria. Conjunctivitis is not normally serious and in many cases gets better on its own. Some people notice that they have a cold, sore throat or feel unwell at the same time.
Most infections will clear up on their own. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics and the infection may last two to three weeks before the body’s natural immunity is able to clear the virus – just like when we have the flu. Clean any discharge/crusting away with a cotton pad and water. Antibiotic drops and/or lubricating drops may be prescribed for a short course. In a very small number of cases, in which there is a severe virus infection, anti-inflammatory steroid drops may be needed.
Virus infections are very contagious (catching) and spread by contact with infected tissues, towels, pillowcases and even door handles and also by droplet spread through sneezing and coughing. Washing hands frequently and not sharing towels/pillows is important to reduce the spread. Nurseries and schools may not allow children to attend whilst they have an infection.
Pterygium and Pinguecula
Pterygium is fleshy tissue that grows over the cornea (the clear front window of the eye). It may remain small or may grow large enough to interfere with vision. A pterygium most commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye, but can appear on the outer corner as well. The exact cause is not well understood. Pterygium occurs more often in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet (UV) rays, and chronic eye irritation from dry, dusty, smoky conditions seem to play an important causal role. A dry eye may contribute to pterygium.
When a pterygium becomes red and irritated, eyedrops or ointments may be used to help reduce the inflammation. If the pterygium is large enough to threaten sight or grows rapidly, it can be removed surgically. A pterygium may also cause decreased vision by causing astigmatism. It is therefore advisable to follow up on medium to large-sized pterygia at least yearly and include a refraction.
Despite proper surgical removal, the pterygium may return, particularly in young people. Protecting the eyes from excessive ultraviolet light with proper sunglasses and avoiding dry, dusty conditions and use of artificial tears may also help.
A pinguecula is a yellowish patch or bump on the white of the eye, most often on the side closest to the nose. It is not a tumor, but an alteration of normal tissue resulting in a deposit of protein and fat. Unlike a pterygium, a pinguecula does not actually grow onto the cornea. A pinguecula may also be a response to chronic eye irritation or sunlight.
No treatment is necessary unless it becomes inflamed. A pinguecula does not grow onto the cornea or threaten sight. If particularly annoying, a pinguecula may on rare occasions be surgically removed, but the postoperative scar may be as cosmetically objectionable as the pinguecula.
Diabetic Eye Diseases
Diabetic Eye Disease
Patients with diabetes are at risk of developing certain eye conditions such as cataract, diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) and optic nerve diseases such as glaucoma.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes. It is caused by damage to the blood vessels on a light-sensitive layer (retina) at the back of your eye. When blood sugar levels are high, these blood vessels can swell and leak. They can also shut down, stopping blood from passing through. Abnormal new blood vessels may grow on the retina and possibly bleed into the cavity of the eye. These changes can diminish your vision.
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
NPDR (Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy) This is the early stage of diabetic eye disease. Many people with diabetes have it. At this stage, your vision may or may not be affected by the changes on the retina.
PDR (Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy) PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing abnormal and fragile new blood vessels, that may often bleed into the jelly eye substance (vitreous). They may give you floaters or totally block your vision.
These new blood vessels can later form scar tissues. Scar tissues can cause problems with the macula or lead to a detached retina.
PDR is a serious condition, and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.
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