From time to time we all experience some discomfort associated with a common eye condition. Mild cases can easily be treated with over the counter remedies while other, more serious cases will require medical attention.
Dry Eyes: caused by an insufficient amount of tears lubricating the eye, symptoms include irritated eyes, a gritty or scratchy feeling, and/or blurred vision. In mild cases an over-the-counter artificial tear solution can be used to alleviate the discomfort. For those with chronic dry eyes, a visit to the optometrist for an eye exam and discussion of treatment options is needed.
Sty: a painful, red bump on the eyelid caused by an infection of a gland or hair follicle. Applying a warm compress several times a day can help soothe the area. Never squeeze or press on a sty as it may cause the infection to spread. Wearing contact lenses and applying eye make up should be avoided during the course of treatment of a sty. See an eye doctor if symptoms worsen or last for more than a few days.
Eye Floaters: dark gray spots or strands that appear to be floating right in front of your face are actually small strands of collagen fibers inside your eye. As you move your eye, the fibers move inside the vitreous (the jelly like substance inside your eye that gives it it’s shape) and cause the “floaters” to appear. An occasional dark spot or blur in your vision shouldn’t be worrisome, however, if you experience a rush of floaters or they occur along with flashing lights, consult your eye doctor right away. These symptoms could indicate a detached retina or bleeding inside the eye.
Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): highly contagious and easily spread, pink eye is typically a minor eye infection that can turn into a more serious problem without treatment. Conjunctivitis may be caused by an allergic reaction, bacterial infection, or viruses associated with the common cold. See your optometrist if you develop pink eye so that the cause can be determined and proper treatment can begin immediately. A course of antibiotics along with applying a cold compress to the eye will usually help clear up the infection within a few days.
Foreign bodies: dirt, debris, a fragment of a contact lens, or any other small particle in your eye. Your eye will become red and irritated and will begin to produce tears to flush out the speck. If your tears do not rinse the foreign body out, try moving your eye from right to left or in a circular motion to help dislodge the dirt. You can also flush your eye with water using an eyebath. Never rub or apply any pressure to your eye in an attempt to remove the debris. Foreign bodies in the eye can cause corneal abrasions if not removed promptly. If you aren’t able to remove the offending object yourself or if the debris has become lodged in the eye itself, seek treatment from your eye doctor right away.