The most common complaints reported to eye doctors involving burning, itching, puffy eyelids and watery eyes can be attributed to ocular allergies. It has been estimated that 60% of the population has some degree of discomforting symptoms related to ocular allergies.
To provide some biological detail, the tear layer of the eye contains specialized
cells called mast cells. Mast cells are large container cells that store large amounts
of histamine cells. Under optimum conditions the cell walls of mast cells break releasing
histamine in response to eye injuries and eye infections. In ocular allergies, especially
if there is excessive eye rubbing, mast cells break open unnecessarily releasing
large amounts of histamine. As a result, excess histamine causes the eyes to itch,
thus the common historic treatment was to introduce anti-
Eye rubbing increases the itch response 15 fold, so all patients are urged to limit rubbing of the eyes as much as possible. Cool compresses may also helpful in reducing symptoms. The causative source of ocular allergies varies greatly including, seasonal pollens, animal dander, mold, etc. Reducing exposure to known allergy sources is prudent, but since we don't live in a bubble, it is difficult.
For patients troubled by ocular allergies, over-
The cornea is the central clear window of the eye. A corneal ulcer is an area of tissue disruption of this sensitive tissue often extending deep into the corneal structure. In most cases, corneal ulcers result from bacterial infection. Pain, light sensitivity, decreased vision and tearing are common symptoms of these lesions.
All types of corneal ulcers are serious, sight threatening lesions that require aggressive
treatment and careful monitoring. Treatment usually includes special antibiotics,
and often, anti-
DRY EYE SYNDROME
Problematic dry eyes are one of the most common problems reported to eye doctors. Dry eyes result from either a decrease in the amount of tear production, or the quality or composition of the tears produced.
There are many common causes of dry eye syndrome including: advancing age, allergies, poor diet, heating/cooling environmental circumstances, normal hormonal changes, health status such as diabetes, arthritis, lupus, thyroid dysfunction, chemotherapy, radiation, acne rosacea, contact lens use, computer use and patients that have a history of LASIK surgery. In addition certain medications can contribute to dry eye symptoms such as antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, acne treatments, diuretics and some blood pressure medications.
Common symptoms of dry eyes may include blurred or variable vision, sensitivity to light, dryness, burning, stinging, gritty or foreign body sensations. Occasionally, the dry eye patient may experience a paradoxical excess or "reflex" tearing caused by the underlying eye surface irritation.
Treatment of this condition may include artificial tears, gels and/or lubricating
ointments at bedtime, daily eyelid hygiene scrubs, a prescribed medication regime,
As you can see, the causes and possible treatment options are complex. An individual treatment plan will be formulated for you based on severity and known causes. Please follow my recommendations and outlined treatment plan carefully.
Keratoconus is a condition of the normally clear outer window of the eye, the cornea. The word keratoconus is formed from two Greek words, kerato, meaning cornea, and konus, meaning cone. The cornea is generally shaped like a dome or sphere. It is primarily responsible for surface protection of the eye and performs a greater degree of light focusing than any other part of the eye.
Keratoconus gradually causes the central area of the cornea to weaken, thin, or bulge. It eventually distorts from its more spherical shape to a cone shape. This distortion may cause significant changes in vision which may begin in the late teen years and may not stop until age 40. While keratoconus can be an inherited bilateral (two eye) condition, many patients have no clear inheritance pattern. It has been estimated to occur in 1 out of every 2,000 persons.
The earliest changes of keratoconus may require frequent changes of glasses. As
the corneal distortion worsens, contact lenses may be required to obtain adequate
vision. In this case, contact lenses mask the warp or cone-
When contact lenses can no longer correct vision adequately, or when highly specialized contact lenses can no longer be made to remain comfortably on the eye surface, surgical replacement of the distorted corneal area may be considered. Surgical treatment is found to be necessary in only about 10% of the cases. This surgery is performed using donor cornea tissue to return the eye surface to a more normal shape. Cornea transplants are highly successful (over 95%). Although a transplant may not eliminate the need for glasses or contacts it will likely restore the visual function that keratoconus slowly distorts.
Serving clients in Northwest Metro Minnesota including the communities of Albertville • St. Michael • Otsego • Hannover • Wright County
Albertville Eye Care, 2011