Other Conditions

Other conditions that may be treated here at City Eyes include the following.

Click on the plus (+) symbol next to each condition to find out more.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an infection of the conjunctiva (the outer-most layer of the eye that covers the sclera). The three most common types of conjunctivitis are: viral, allergic, and bacterial. Each requires different treatments. With the exception of the allergic type, conjunctivitis is typically contagious.

The viral type is often associated with an upper respiratory tract infection, cold, or sore throat. The allergic type occurs more frequently among those with allergic conditions. When related to allergies, the symptoms are often seasonal. Allergic conjunctivitis may also be caused by intolerance to substances such as cosmetics, perfume, or drugs. Bacterial conjunctivitis is often caused by bacteria such as staphylococcus and streptococcus. The severity of the infection depends on the type of bacteria involved.

Conjunctivitis Signs and Symptoms

Viral Conjunctivitis

  • Watery discharge
  • Irritation
  • Red eye
  • Infection usually begins with one eye, but may spread easily to the fellow eye

Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Usually affects both eyes
  • Itching
  • Tearing
  • Swollen eyelids

Bacterial Conjunctivitis

  • Stringy discharge that may cause the lids to stick together, especially after sleeping
  • Swelling of the conjunctiva
  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Irritation and/or a gritty feeling
  • Usually affects only one eye, but may spread easily to the fellow eye

Conjuncivitis Detection and Diagnosis

Conjunctivitis is diagnosed during a routine eye exam using a slit lamp microscope. In some cases, cultures are taken to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection.

Treatment

Conjunctivitis requires medical attention. The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of the problem.

For the allergic type, cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines may be prescribed. Some patients with persistent allergic conjunctivitis may also require topical steroid drops.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments that cover a broad range of bacteria.

Like the common cold, there is no cure for viral conjunctivitis; however, the symptoms can be relieved with cool compresses and artificial tears (found in most pharmacies). For the worst cases, topical steroid drops may be prescribed to reduce the discomfort from inflammation. Viral conjunctivitis usually resolves within 3 weeks.

Avoiding Conjunctivitis

To avoid spreading infection, take these simple steps:

  • Disinfect surfaces such as doorknobs and counters with diluted bleach solution
  • Don’t swim (some bacteria can be spread in the water)
  • Avoid touching the face
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Don’t share towels or washcloths
  • Do not reuse handkerchiefs (using a tissue is best)
  • Avoid shaking hands
Amblyopia is a term used to describe an uncorrectable loss of vision in an eye that appears to be normal. It’s commonly referred to as “lazy eye” and can occur for a variety of reasons.

A child’s visual system is fully developed between approximately the ages of 9-11. Until then, children readily adapt to visual problems by suppressing or blocking out the image. If caught early, the problem can often be corrected and the vision preserved. However, after about age 11, it is difficult if not impossible to train the brain to use the eye normally.

Some causes of amblyopia include: strabismus (crossed or turned eye), congenital cataracts, cloudy cornea, droopy eyelid, unequal vision and uncorrected nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Amblyopia may occur in various degrees depending on the severity of the underlying problem. Some patients just experience a partial loss; others are only able to recognise motion.

Patients with amblyopia lack binocular vision, or stereopsis – the ability to blend the images of both eyes together. Stereopsis is what allows us to appreciate depth. Without it, the ability to judge distance is impaired.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Poor vision in one or both eyes
  • Squinting or closing one eye while reading or watching television
  • Crossed or turned eye
  • Turning or tilting the head when looking at an object

Note: Children rarely complain of poor vision. They are able to adapt very easily to most visual impairments. Parents must be very observant of young children and should have a routine eye exam performed by the age of 2-3 to detect potential problems.

Detection and Diagnosis

When amblyopia is suspected, the consultant will evaluate the following:

  • Vision
  • Eye alignment
  • Eye movements
  • Fusion (the brain’s ability to blend two images into a single image)

Treatment

The treatment for amblyopia depends on the underlying problem. In some cases, the strong eye is temporarily patched so the child is forced to use the weaker eye. For children with problems relating to a refractive error, glasses may be necessary to correct vision. Problems that impair vision such as cataracts or droopy eyelids often require surgery. Regardless of the treatment required, it is of utmost importance that intervention is implemented as early as possible before the child’s brain learns to permanently suppress or ignore the eye.

Nearsightedness or myopia occurs when light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This is caused by a cornea that is steeper, or an eye that is longer, than a normal eye. Near-sighted people typically see well up close, but have difficulty seeing far away.

This problem is often discovered in school-age children who report having trouble seeing the chalkboard. Near-sightedness usually becomes progressively worse through adolescence and stabilises in early adulthood. It is an inherited problem.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Blurry distance vision
  • Vision seems clearer when squinting

Detection and Diagnosis

Nearsightedness is detected with a vision test and refraction.

Treatment

The treatment for nearsightedness depends on several factors such as the patient’s age, activities, and occupation. Vision can corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. Refractive procedures such as LASIK can be considered for adults when the prescription has remained stable for at least one year.

Farsightedness or Hyperopia occurs when light entering the eye focuses behind the retina, instead of directly on it. This is caused by a cornea that is flatter, or an eye that is shorter, than a normal eye. Farsighted people usually have trouble seeing up close, but may also have difficulty seeing far away as well.

Young people with mild to moderate hyperopia are often able to see clearly because their natural lens can adjust, or accommodate to increase the eye’s focusing ability. However, as the eye gradually loses the ability to accommodate (beginning at about 40 years of age), blurred vision from hyperopia often becomes more apparent.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Difficulty seeing up close
  • Blurred distance vision (occurs with higher amounts of hyperopia)
  • Eye fatigue when reading
  • Eye strain (headaches, pulling sensation, burning)
  • Crossed eyes in children

Detection and Diagnosis

Hyperopia is detected with a vision test called a refraction. Young patients’ eyes are dilated for this test so they are unable to mask their farsightedness with accommodation. This is called a wet refraction.

Treatment

The treatment for hyperopia depends on several factors such as the patient’s age, activities, and occupation. Young patients may or may not require glasses or contact lenses, depending on their ability to compensate for their farsightedness with accommodation. Glasses or contact lenses are required for older patients.

Refractive surgery is an option for adults who wish to see clearly without glasses. LASIK, Clear Lens Extraction And Replacement, LTK and intraocular contact lenses are all procedures that can be performed to correct hyperopia.

Presbyopia, also known as the “short arm syndrome,” is a term used to describe an eye in which the natural lens can no longer accommodate. Accommodation is the eye’s way of changing its focusing distance: the lens thickens, increasing its ability to focus close-up. At about the age of 40, the lens becomes less flexible and accommodation is gradually lost. It’s a normal process that everyone eventually experiences.

Most people first notice difficulty reading very fine print such as the phone book, a medicine bottle, or the stock market page. Print seems to have less contrast and the eyes become easily fatigued when reading a book or computer screen. Early on, holding reading material further away helps for many patients. But eventually, reading correction in the form of reading glasses, bifocals, or contact lenses is needed for close work. However, nearsighted people can simply take their glasses off because they see best close-up.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Difficulty seeing clearly for close work
  • Print seems to have less contrast
  • Brighter, more direct light required for reading
  • Reading material must be held further away to see (for some)
  • Fatigue and eyestrain when reading

Detection and Diagnosis

Presbyopia is detected with vision testing and a refraction.

Treatment

The treatment for presbyopia is very simple, but is entirely dependent on the individual’s age, lifestyle, occupation, and hobbies. If the patient has good distance vision and only has difficulty seeing up close, reading glasses are usually the easiest solution. For others, bifocals (glasses with reading and distance correction) or separate pairs of reading and distance glasses are necessary. Another option is monovision: adjusting one eye for distance vision, and the fellow eye for reading vision. This can be done with contact lenses or permanently with refractive surgery.

Astigmatism means that the cornea is oval like a rugby ball, instead of spherical like a football. Most astigmatic corneas have two curves – a steeper curve and a flatter curve. This causes light to focus on more than one point in the eye, resulting in blurred vision at distance or near. Astigmatism often occurs along with near-sightedness or far-sightedness.

Signs and Symptoms

Blurred vision (near and distance)

Detection and Diagnosis

Astigmatism can be detected and measured with corneal topography, keratometry, vision testing and refraction.

Treatment

Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgically. The most common surgeries used to correct astigmatism are astigmatic keratotomy (procedures that involve placing a microscopic incision on the eye) and LASIK. The objective of these procedures is to reshape the cornea so it becomes more spherical or uniformly curved.

A cataract does not form on the eye, but rather within the eye.

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens, the part of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. The lens is contained in a sealed bag or capsule. As old cells die they become trapped within the capsule. Over time, the cells accumulate causing the lens to cloud, making images look blurred or fuzzy.

For most people, cataracts are a natural result of ageing. In fact, they are the leading cause of visual loss among adults 55 and older.

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