It is often said that the eyes are the windows of the soul and indeed of the body. Many diseases can manifest themselves with symptoms in the eyes and sometimes the eyes can give a clue to diseases elsewhere in the body. Such as diabetics, rheumatoid arthritis, brain tumors, fungal infections in the body, tuberculosis and hypertension.
This is a condition characterized by itching, watering or redness of the eyes; sometimes the patient may have one or all of the symptoms. It may be aggravated during the change of season.
Cause: exposure to dust, pollens, pollution, especially, contact lens wearers. Prevention: by avoiding exposure to the aggravating factors. Often these cannot be identified and the patient may need to use eye drops to make the eye less reactive.
Treatment: by preventing exposure to allergens wherever possible and by the use of eye drops.
This condition is caused by a decrease in either the quantity or quality of tears which are the natural lubricant of the eye.
The symptoms are: sensation of a foreign body or grittiness in the eye, feeling of tiredness, and sometimes a white discharge from the corners of the eyes.
Cause: may be precipitated by chronic eyelid infection, allergic conjunctivitis or other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Management: Avoid the aggravating conditions, prevent exposure to drafts or direct blast of air conditioning.
Treatment: Treat underlying condition, use lubricating eye drops.
This is characterized by pain, watering, blurring of vision and a feeling of strain, especially after working on the computer.
Cause: Usually related to long hours of work, without a break.
Management and treatment: May need to be checked for refractive error(need for glasses), take intermittent rest (i.e. look away from the screen at regular intervals), use lubricating eye drops and exercises if required.
This is a condition where the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy. It leads to blurring of vision, sometimes haloes around lights, glare and difficulty in reading.
Cause: usually age-related, maybe earlier with onset of diabetes or in case of trauma.
Prevention: no known method of prevention
Management: in the early stages by changing ones spectacles, definitive treatment is surgical (i.e. Phacoemulsification)
Also known as 'Kala Motia', this is a potentially blinding condition characterized by high pressure in the eye which leads to irreversible damage to the nerve of the eye (Optic Nerve). The symptoms are heaviness, pain, watering and decrease in vision. Sometimes there may not be any symptoms and it may be detected on routine examination.
Cause: Those with a family history or diabetics are more prone to getting this condition
Prevention: Prevention is by periodic eye checks for eye pressure. If the eye pressure is above normal, it may require to be controlled with eye drops.
Treatment: may be medical or surgical depending on the extent of pressure and damage to the optic nerve. Long term periodic monitoring is required.
Dr. Anita Sethi
(Consultant Ophthalmologist, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon)
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