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Eye Conditions

Amblyopia

Amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye, is an eye condition that results in reduced vision in one eye. This condition affects two to three percent of the population as a result of genetic causes, related conditions or trauma. When this condition occurs, the unaffected eye usually becomes stronger and suppresses the amblyopic eye, often rendering it useless.

Patients with amblyopia may experience eyestrain, squinting, headaches and overall poor vision. This condition usually develops in children before the age of six, and can significantly affect central vision if left untreated. While many cases are caused by a misalignment of the eyes, such as strabismus or crossed eyes, amblyopia can also be caused by trauma to the eye or a very strong refractive error.

Effective treatment for amblyopia depends on the underlying cause of the condition, but may include glasses to improve focusing or eye exercises to correct improper vision habits. Eye drops and patching may also be prescribed. More serious cases or those that do not respond to conservative treatment may need surgery to straighten the eyes so that they can focus together and see properly.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea, the front surface of the eye, is curved slightly in one direction and causes blurred vision. The cornea refracts (bends) light so it focuses on the retina in the back of the eye. With astigmatism some of that light focuses in front of or behind the retina, so your vision may be blurry for nearby (hyperopia), far-away (myopia) or all objects.

Indications of astigmatism can include headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and blurred or distorted vision. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of astigmatism in your eyes.

Routine eye exams include testing for astigmatism, which affects many people. Once diagnosed, astigmatism can usually be corrected with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Corneal modification techniques such as LASIK (laser vision correction) are also useful treatment options.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is a chronic inflammation - a long-term swelling - of the eyelids and eyelash follicles. It may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, acne, bacterial infection, allergic reaction or poor eyelid hygiene. The eyes may become red or blurry, as well as tear frequently. The eyelids crust, flake, scale or redden, and the smooth inside lining of the lids may become rough. In more serious cases, sores can form when the crusting skin is removed, the eyelashes may fall out, the eyelids can deform, the infection can spread to the cornea, and patients often suffer from excessive tearing. Blepharitis can also cause styes, chalazions and problems with the tear film.

Treatment and preventative care for blepharitis involves thorough but gentle cleaning of the eyelids, face and scalp. Warm compresses can be applied to loosen crust and dandruff shampoo can help keep the eyelids clear. This may be combined with antibiotics if a bacterial infection is causing or contributing to the problems.

Dry Eye

Dry eye occurs when the eyes are not sufficiently moisturized, leading to itching, redness and pain from dry spots on the surface of the eye. The eyes become dry and irritated because tear production is low or because the tears themselves have a chemical imbalance.

Non-surgical treatments for dry eye include over-the-counter artificial tears, gels and lubricating ointments. Restasis®, a prescription eye drop, increases tear production and successfully relieves dry eye 80% of the time. Inserting plugs into the tear drains in the corner of the lids in order to limit tear drainage is equally successful. Eyelid surgery is also a solution if an eyelid condition is causing the eyes to dry out.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye is a condition that commonly affects many of us, especially as we age. Tears are produced to lubricate the eyes and provide a smooth surface for optical clarity. Tears are produced to lubricate the eyes and provide a smooth surface for optical clarity. Tears are composed of three layers: the outer oily layer, the middle watery layer, and the inner mucous layer. Dry eye is caused by either decreased tear production or poor tear stability (excessive tear evaporation).

Common conditions that may result in dry eye include certain medical problems such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjogren's syndrome (associated with both dry eye and dry mouth), and Thyroid Disorders. Certain medications may also commonly cause dry eye including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and oral contraceptives. Other problems such as poor blinking, eyelid abnormalities, extended contact lens wear, dry climates, and previous ocular injuries or surgery may also result in dry eye.

Symptoms of dry eye can include pain, redness and burning, itching, a gritty or foreign body sensation, blurred vision, and tearing. Since the eye waters when it is irritated, the irritation caused by poor lubrication causes the eye to water as a result.

While there is no cure for dry eye, several options are available for treatment. Artificial tear drops and lubrication ointments are often recommended for mild causes of dry eye. Other options may include prescription medications that may increase tear production or actually improve the stability of the tear film. Lacrimal plugs to decrease tear drainage, ocular nutrition with supplements, and rarely, surgery may be required for further alleviation of symptoms.

Ectropion & Entropion

Ectropion is a "turning out" of the eyelid that causes redness, irritation, tearing and an increased likelihood of infection. Common causes of ectropion include aging, sun damage, tumors, burns. Artificial tears can help provide temporary relief from dryness. Ectropion can be corrected in a quick procedure in which the lid is tightened. Occasionally, the surgeon needs to graft a small segment of skin to ensure that the eyelid is fully repaired.

Entropion is a "turning in" of the eyelid. The lid and lashes rub painfully against the cornea. Entropion usually occurs as a result of aging, but other causes can include injury, congenital defect and various inflammatory conditions. A spasm can cause the lid to turn inward. Entropion can be corrected with a brief surgical procedure under local anesthesia.

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