Eye problems and diseases
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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 causes.

Symptoms

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 flu-like symptoms.

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 unknown.

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 living conditions.

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 of contacts.

Treatment

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.

 
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