Your vision is one of the most important things that you have in your life. It allows you to enjoy all of the wonderful things that the world has to offer you. Thanks to your vision you are able to enjoy the awesome beauty of a sunset, the majesty of autumn leaves falling, and the simple wonder of a red rose. Protecting your vision is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that you are able to enjoy everything that the world and a fulfilling life has to offer. While there are a lot of things that you can do to help ensure that your vision stays strong and healthy, there are things that can come up that are beyond your control.
There are a lot of common eye problems that can come up with little to no warning. While some of these are mere minor annoyances, there are some that can greatly affect the quality of your vision and thus the long term quality of your life. Many of these conditions can come up thanks to an illness such as a virus, or can come up due to a long term condition such as high blood pressure. Some of these can also manifest in response to an injury such as an impact to the eye. Lets take a look at some of the more common eye problems that can arise and how they can be prevented or treated.
Eye Floaters: Eye Floaters are the name commonly given to the tiny specks or strands that float into your field of vision as your eye moves in its natural scanning pattern. Most of the time they are visible in well-lit rooms and bright sunlight. They are for the most part harmless but they can indicate more serious problems with your vision beginning to develop. If your floaters suddenly increase in size or quantity see your eye care professional immediately. If your floaters suddenly start to have flashes or circular spots accompanying them also check with your eye care professional.
Dry Eyes: Chronic dry eyes are the result of the tear glands in the eyes not being able to produce enough natural tears to keep the eyes properly hydrated and lubricated in the socket and behind the eye lid. This can also be a result of the eyes producing a low quality tear that is not able to adequately perform the needed functions. Symptoms of dry eyes include itching, burning, general sense of uncomfortable and the feeling of having sand or dust in your eyes. While dry eyes are for the most part a simple annoyance the condition can in rare cases lead to a reduction in vision. One of the most common ways to treat dry eyes is to use a humidifier and artificial tears. You can also wear sunglasses and zero power eye glasses or reading glasses to shield your eyes from wind and dust. If you do not find relief with these steps then your optometrist may prescribe tear flow increaser drugs which are applied via an eye drop or may want to insert tear duct plugs to prevent the tears from draining from the eyes and thus help keep the eye wet.
Cataracts: Cataracts occur when cloudy areas develop withing the surface of the lens of the eye. The lens of the eye functions the same way as a camera lens does. When you look at something the light that passes through the lens is inverted and focused onto the retina located at the back of the eye where the receptors located there interpret the light and send an image to the brain via the optic nerve. When a person has a Cataract in their eye the lens is clouded to varying degrees and as such light cannot easily pass through and thus a image cannot be created or if one is it is degraded to a very low quality. Cataracts form slowly over time and often stay small for a great while. You may not notice any change in your eye sight until the Cataracts start to grow. When they do become predominate however, they do so quickly and can rapidly degrade your vision. They must be removed by surgery when they start to affect the lens pass through of light.
Glaucoma: This condition is caused by the typical and progressive degenerations of the optic nerve and the surrounding tissues. It is most often caused by increased pressure on the physical structure of the eye. The pressure of the eyes must be maintain in a proper range at all times, much like the pressure inside the tires of a car. If there is too much pressure then the tissues will be stretched and begin to breakdown. Ina tire this will lead to a blow out, in your eyes this will lead to the pressure pushing back and squeezing the optic nerve between the eye and the eye socket wall. The most common type of Glaucoma is called primary open angle Glaucoma and is often associated with increased blood pressure. It is easily preventable but once it has started to onset there is little that can be done easily to reverse the damage. At this stage it is generally accepted to prevent further damage and thus save what vision is left.
Conjunctivitis: The tissue that covers the lens of the eyelids and covers the cornea can easily become inflamed. This can happen due to a great many different reasons. When this happens the resulting condition is known as conjunctivitis or more commonly called “pink eye”. Symptoms of Conjunctivitis include tearing, redness, itching, discharge or the feeling of having something in your eye. The condition is common in children and also known to occur frequently in those who work outdoors in the elements due to the drying of the tissues by prolonged exposure to sun, dust and wind. Other ways that Conjunctivitis can start include exposure to chemical agents, irritants and allergies. There is also a form of Conjunctivitis that can be caused by exposure to a virus. This type is commonly called “pink eye” and is highly contagious and must be treated with a combination of soothing eye drops and oral ingested antibiotics.
By knowing more about these and other common eye problems you are better informed to keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong. This will allow you to enjoy everything that the world has to offer. It is a wondrous and beautiful universe that we live in. With proper eye care and knowledge of common eye problems and how they can be prevented you will be able to experience all of the wondrous things that there are to see.