The eye is constructed of many parts.
As a result, there are wide varieties
of eye problems associated with one
or more parts of the eye. These eye
problems can take a serious turn,
leading to partial or total blindness,
if they are not treated promptly.
It is estimated that half the cases
of blindness can be prevented.
In the U.S., age related eye diseases
are the primary cause of vision impairment
and blindness. The more disturbing
fact is that the number of people
who are at risk for such diseases
is increasing. It is therefore important
to be aware of eye problems and their
There are many early warning signs
for eye problems. Depending on the
nature of the problem, each eye problem
has a particular set of symptoms and
signs. However, all eye problems exhibit
certain common symptoms. It is useful
to be familiar with these symptoms,
so that you can take timely remedial
action, especially in the case of
children. These common signs are,
eye pain, redness, poor vision, itching
and watering. You have an eye problem
when you find it difficult to recognize
well-known faces, when you have difficulty
in doing routine tasks, or when you
cannot read street signs.
The symptoms that are not so common
include photophobia, excessive tearing,
scaly eyelids, eye injury, spots floating
in your vision, eye discharge and
Most vision problems are a gradual
development. Some sudden vision changes
are, in some cases, a sign of stroke.
These are sudden onset of blindness,
especially in one eye; partial loss
of vision and double vision.
Eye diseases and causes
The corollary to the eye having so
many parts is the wide variety of
eye defects and diseases that can
occur specific to these parts. Unfortunately,
causes of many problems still remain
Refractive vision defects, like near
and far sightedness and astigmatism,
are caused by lenses losing their
shape and being unable to focus the
light on the retina. It is believed
that these problems can be affected
by genetics, eye injury, fatigue,
chronic illness, poor diet, and general
The underlying medical problem of
high blood pressure causes the non-refractive
vision defect, glaucoma. A more striking
example of an eye problem caused by
underlying medical problem – diabetes
- is diabetic retinopathy. Then there
are age-related problems like cataracts.
Entry of foreign particles in to the
eye may lead to numerous eye allergies.
Even parts, whose main function is
to protect the eyes, are prone to
some severe types of eye disorders.
Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation
of the eyelids. Dry eyes are caused
by a lack of tears. Lack of tears
disrupts the tear film and may make
the cornea opaque and cause other
diseases. Then there are a variety
of corneal and retinal diseases and
many more issues.
Relatively new categories of eye
problems are those related to contact
lenses, which lately have attained
some prominence due to increased use
Since, nearly all eye problems are
problems of eye parts like the lens,
eyelid, cornea, macula and retina,
treatment therefore depends on the
nature of the eye problem.
However, past experience of practioners
has clearly showed that for many eye
problems, prevention is the best cure.
They recommend periodic check-ups
after you enter your twenties and
more frequent check-ups from forty
onwards. Moreover, if you have underlying
medical problems like diabetes and
high blood pressure, you may need
to be continuously vigilant and attend
more frequent eye check ups. People
with diabetes must be especially careful
about their diet.
Treatment after disease sets in,
consists of medication, provision
of glasses and lenses, or surgery.
Timely treatment is vital in the case
of eye diseases. Consult your doctor
as soon as you see or feel the first
signs or symptoms. Eye diseases cannot
be cured by homespun remedies. They
need professional help.