Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS
Eye Infection
Overview
Symptoms
Home Remedies
Doctors to Consult
Overview

The human eye is the organ that gives us the sense of sight to which we see the world around us. The eyes are made up of several structures that allow us to determine what we are seeing.

The eye is a slightly asymmetrical globe, about an inch in diameter. The front part of the eye (the part you see in the mirror) includes:

  • Iris - the pigmented part

  • Cornea - a clear dome over the iris

  • Pupil - the black circular opening in the iris that lets light in

  • Sclera - the white part

  • Conjunctiva - an invisible, clear layer of tissue covering the front of the eye, except the cornea

Just behind the iris and pupil lies the lens, which helps to focus light on the back of the eye. Most of the eye is filled with a clear gel called the vitreous. Light projects through the pupil and the lens to the back of the eye. The inside lining of the eye is covered by special light-sensing cells that are collectively called the retina. The retina converts light into electrical impulses. Behind the eye, the optic nerve carries these impulses to the brain. The macula is a small sensitive area within the retina that gives central vision. It is located in the center of the retina and contains the fovea, a small depression or pit at the center of the macula that gives the clearest vision.

Symptoms

Common eye conditions:

  • Age-related macular degeneration. A loss of central vision in both eyes.
  • Amblyopia or lazy eye. One eye sees better than the other, a problem of childhood development. The weaker eye may or may not "wander." The weaker eye is called the "lazy eye."
  • Astigmatism. A defect that causes an inability to properly focus light onto the retina. Astigmatism causes blurry vision that can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
  • Blepharitis. Inflammation of the eyelids near the eyelashes. Blepharitis is a common cause of itching or a feeling of grit in the eyes.
  • Cataract. A clouding of the lens, which hinders the passage of light through the lens.
  • Conjunctivitis or pinkeye. An infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva. It is usually caused by allergies, viral or bacterial infection.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar damages blood vessels in the eye. Eventually, weakened blood vessels may overgrow the retina or bleed, threatening vision.
  • Diplopia or double vision. Seeing double can be caused by many serious conditions. Diplopia requires immediate medical attention.
  • Dry eye. Either the eyes don't produce enough tears, or the tears are of poor quality. Dry eye can be caused by medical problems such as lupus, scleroderma, and Sjogren's syndrome.
  • Glaucoma. Increased pressure inside the eye slowly reduces vision. Peripheral vision is lost first, often going undetected for years.
  • Hyperopia or farsightedness. Inability to see near objects clearly. The eye is "too short" for the lens, or certain eye muscles have weakened with age.
  • Hyphema. Bleeding into the front of the eye, behind the cornea. Hyphema is usually caused by trauma.
  • Keratitis. Inflammation or infection of the cornea. Keratitis typically occurs after germs enter a corneal abrasion.
  • Myopia or nearsightedness. Inability to see clearly at a distance.
  • Optic neuritis. The optic nerve becomes inflamed, usually from an overactive immune system. Painful vision loss in one eye typically results.
  • Retinitis. Inflammation or infection of the retina. Retinitis may be a long-term genetic condition or result from a viral infection.
  • Stye . A bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus or it may be a result of the blockade of an oil gland at the base of the eyelash creating a tender red bump.
  • Strabismus or crossed-eye.
Risk Factors
Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
Home Remedies
  • Eat for your heart and your Eyes. Foods that help circulation are good for your heart, eyes, and vision. Choose heart-healthy foods like citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, and whole grains. Foods rich in zinc like beans, peas, peanuts, oysters, lean red meat, and poultry can help eyes resist light damage. Carrots and yellow vegetables do help promote better eyesight, the vitamin A in them is important for good vision.
  • Don't Ignore Eye Problems. If your eyes are itchy or red, soothe them with cold compresses, antihistamines, or eye drops. If you feel grittiness, like there's sand in your eye, rinse with clean water or saline. See a doctor if symptoms continue, or if you have eye pain, secretions, swelling, or sensitivity to light.
  • Know Your Health History. Many unrelated health conditions can affect your eyes. High blood pressure and diabetes can reduce blood flow to the eyes. Immune system disorders in the lungs, thyroid glands, or elsewhere can inflame eyes, too. Other threats include multiple sclerosis, aneurysms, and cancer. Tell your eye doctor about any current or past health issues, including family members with eye problems or serious illnesses.
  • Get Regular Eye Exams. Whether or not you wear glasses, get eye exams every other year if you're between ages 21 and 40.
  • Stop Smoking . Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts and aggravates uncomfortable dry eyes. It also builds up plaque in your bloodstream and weakens arteries. This not only increases your risk of a heart attack, but it can damage the retina and cause vision loss.
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