When we think of eye health, we often consider how well we see now and how well we may see in the future. While there are significant benefits to knowing about potentially serious eye diseases, there are a few conditions that are much milder and also much more common. Because eye health occurs on a spectrum and all points on that spectrum are important, we want to discuss how to spot these common eye problems and what to do about them.
Conjunctivitis is inflammation at the front part of the eye. It is commonly referred to as pink eye as a reference to its most prominent symptom, redness. Conjunctivitis may be a relatively benign condition that resolves over a few days with home remedies such as artificial tears and cool compresses to soothe discomfort. However, because there is a chance that this condition could be caused by a virus or bacteria, acute or prolonged symptoms should be evaluated by an eye doctor.
Conjunctivitis may cause:
- Persistent redness in the white part of the eye
- Excessive watering
- Thick discharge
If you have a persistent, painful bump on an eyelid, you may have a stye. This common condition occurs in an eyelash follicle when oil builds up and causes swelling. A stye may be only a minor problem of excess oil. However, oil may be joined by bacteria, creating a risk for infection in the follicle.
In addition to a bump, a stye may cause symptoms such as:
- Excessive eye watering
- Crusty fluid or mucus around an eyelash
It is never appropriate to pop or squeeze a stye. This could worsen inflammation and the risk of infection. A better remedy for this problem is to apply a warm compress for a few minutes, several times a day. This can break up the oil and soften it so it can drain. Rather than squeezing the bump, patients may gently massage the area to help oil escape from the follicle. If a stye worsens or does not improve, an eye doctor may prescribe antibiotic ointment.
An abrasion is a scratch. A corneal abrasion is a scratch inflicted on the cornea, the transparent tissue that covers the front of the eye. This area may get injured if a speck of dust or other material floats into the eye and trapped by the eyelids. The scratch may be worse if the eye is rubbed in an attempt to remove the foreign object. While the eye may heal on its own, some corneal scratches require eye drops or an eye patch for optimal recovery.
A corneal abrasion may cause:
- Eye pain
- Excessive tearing
- A gritty or foreign body sensation.
For assistance with the small or significant matters related to eye health, rely on us. Schedule your visit to our Winchester, VA ophthalmology office at (540) 722-6200.