Relieving common eye problems


Relieving common eye problems

Clear eyesight is precious. The ability to see without any obstructions or eye issues shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yet, each day, our eyes tend to have issues.  They may tear up excessively, become, feel like they’re burning or you wake up to crusty eyelids. While these annoying conditions may seem minor, your obstructive-free vision has suddenly taken a hit. Should you see your optometrist right away?  In some cases the answer is yes. If vision is suddenly blurry and is not going away, or any pain is getting worse, or the eye issues are not going away, make an appointment with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. But in about ninety percent of these cases, the eye problems are common and temporary.

Here are typical fixes for common eye problems to try:

·      Red eyes

Your eye’s typical response to any sort of irritation – dust, allergies, or dryness – is to turn red. What is happening is the tiny blood vessels in the eye swell up because they contain more blood making the eye look red.

What to do: You can wait a few days to see if the redness is getting better, but if not or is getting worse, see an eye specialist to treat any underlying condition. Sometimes artificial tears (without tetrahydrozoline) are a safe way to make red eyes feel better and may reduce redness. It is not recommended to use the over-the-counter medication called “get the red out” (Visine, Opti-clear).  If used too often, your eyes can become dependent on it.

·      Itchy eyes

Generally itchy eyes are due to allergies. The trick is to know what particular type of allergy is causing the itchiness.  It could be a seasonal allergy such as pollen or possibly a reaction to a lotion or cosmetic.

What to do:  For a seasonal allergy, treating it with oral antihistamines usually will help. Examples include fexofenadine (Allegra) or loratadine (Claritin), both available over-the-counter. Sometimes, you may need a stronger solution such as eye drops – check with your eye care specialist to see what they recommend.

·      Crusting eyes

Waking up with eyes crusted over is never fun.  Any eye debris can be causes by several things. If your eyes tend to tear up, the tears can dry into a crystalline, sandy material on your lids. If the crustiness is thicker, than it might be pus from an infection like conjunctivitis or mucus from severe allergies.

What to do:  The fix is to figure out what is the underlying cause. For a bacterial infection that’s causing goopy eyes, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic drops or ointment. If the infection is caused by a virus, you may have to wait until it goes away on its own which could last for several days.

·      Dry or burning eyes

If you are experiencing dry, burning or a gritty sensation in your eyes its usually the result of a change in either tear quality or quantity. Tear quality changes when there’s a blockage in the glands around the eye that produce natural oils to keep the eye slick helping it retain water. Tear quantity changes when the tear glands aren’t making enough fluid, common with age. Inflammatory conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, can also cause dry eyes. Looking at electronic devices too long without blinking is another reason sometimes for dry eyes.  When you don’t blink, you are not giving your eyes a change to replenish the tear film. 

What to do:  For improving tear quality, apply warm compresses on the eyes for five minutes, twice a day, to help unclog oil glands. To improve tear quantity, use artificial tears or have your doctor prescribe Restasis to stimulate the tear glands to make more tears.

·      Watery eyes

Watery eyes are usually the result of the tear drainage ducts becoming blocked. It can also occur when your eyes react to dust or allergens and your eyes pump out tears to flush irritants.

What to do:  The basic solution is to treat the underlying cause of irritation, such as allergies.  If the problem is blocked tear drainage ducts, discuss with your eye care specialist for the best solution.