What are eye disorders, their causes and symptoms?
Get the hang of common eye disorders such as dry eye, conjunctivitis, cataracts, glaucoma and, retinal detachment, along with their causes and symptoms.
Dry eyes syndrome
Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye disease, is an eye condition that causes your eyes to dry up because of insufficient tear production or production of poor quality tears. Thus, your eyes cannot remove dust and other irritants.
Tears comprise of three layers, namely, the oily outer layer, the watery middle layer, and the inner mucus layer. If any of the glands that are responsible for the production of these layers of your tears are inflamed or don’t secrete sufficient water, oil, or mucus, can cause the dry eye syndrome. When enough amount of oil is missing from your tears, they quickly evaporate and your eyes cannot keep up a constant supply of moisture.
The causes of dry eye syndrome are:
- hormone replacement therapy
- exposure to wind or dry air ,including continuous exposure to a heater during the winter
- LASIK eye surgery
- medications such as antidepressants, antihistamines, birth control pills, and nasal decongestants
- wearing contact lens for long hours
- watching screen for long hours
- inadequate blinking
- Dry eye syndrome invokes pain, stinging, burning, redness, watery tearing or fibrous mucus in the eyes.
- Your eyes get fatigued faster than usual or you may find it hard to read from the screen for long hours.
- The feeling of having sand in your eyes and dim vision
Rarely, they can cause loss of vision.
Conjunctivitis is a common eye disorder which causes your eyes to become red or pink, hence, also known as “red eye” or “pink eye.” The outer membrane of your eyeball (conjunctiva) catches an infection or becomes swollen. The blood vessels present in your conjunctiva get inflamed and thus, turn red or pink in colour.
The most common causes of conjunctivitis include:
Viruses or Bacteria
Conjunctivitis caused by these sources is very infectious and can easily spread from one person to another merely by hand contact. Bacterial conjunctivitis is generally caused by the same strain of bacteria responsible for causing strep throat and staph infections. Conjunctivitis from a virus is mostly the result of one of the viruses that causes common cold.
Allergens, such as pollen, can stimulate your body to create more histamines, which cause inflammation as a part of your body’s immune response and cause conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is typically itchy.
Chemicals such as chlorine, generally used to disinfect water in swimming pools, can cause conjunctivitis. To keep a chemical irritant from causing conjunctivitis, rinse your eyes with water frequently.
The most common symptoms of conjunctivitis are:
- pink or red eyes
- sandy feeling in your eyes
- slushy or thick discharge that construct up on your eyes at night
- itchiness or soreness in your eyes
- abnormal quantity of tears
Cataract is a condition in which cloudy spots, known as cataracts, build up within the eye lens and block some portion of the light to pass through the lens. This results in disruption of complete vision.
There are various underlying causes of cataracts. These are:
- an overproduction of oxidants, which are oxygen molecules that have been chemically altered due to normal daily life
- ultraviolet radiation
- prolonged use of medications, such as steroids
- diseases, such as diabetes
- radiation therapy
Common symptoms of cataracts include:
- Hazy or distorted vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Frequent prescription changes for spectacles or contact lenses
- Reduced vision at night
- Double vision in a single eye
Excess fluid build up inside your eyeballs exerts extra pressure on the optic nerve of your eyes. The optic nerve, which facilitates transmission of information from your eyes to your brain, gets damaged leading to serious vision loss, and in the most awful case, blindness.
The part of your eye between the eye lens and the retina is filled with a fluid called aqueous humour. As this fluid is prepared, it fills the front part of your eye. After that, it runs off your eye through passages in your cornea and iris. If these passages are choked or partly blocked, the natural pressure in your eye, known as the intraocular pressure (IOP), may raise. As your IOP increases, your optic nerve may get injured. As damage to your optic nerve advances, you may begin losing sight.
One of these factors is believed to cause glaucoma:
- eye drops for dilating your eyes
- clogged-up or limited drainage in your eye
- drugs, such as corticosteroids
- decreased blood flow to your optic nerve
- high blood pressure
The most common symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Twisted or cloudy vision
- Severe eye pain
- Rainbow haloes
- Nausea or vomiting
Retinal detachment happens when the retina detaches from the back of the eye. This causes partial or total loss of vision, depending on how much of the retina is separated. When your retina gets detached, its cells may starve for oxygen making this condition a medical emergency.
Three types of retinal detachment along with their causes are:
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment takes place when you have tears or holes in your retina. This permits fluid from inside the eye to slide through the opening and move behind the retina. The fluid disconnects the retina from the retinal pigment membrane that provides it with nourishment and oxygen. This is the most common type of retinal detachment.
Traction Retinal Detachment
Traction retinal detachment occurs when the retina is drawn away from the back of the eye due to contraction of the scar tissue on the surface of the retina. This condition is generally caused by diabetes.
Exudative detachment occurs when there are no tears or breaks in the retina. Retinal diseases such as an inflammatory disorder or Coats’ disease, which leads to abnormal development in the blood vessels behind the retina, cause this type of detachment.
Following are the alarming signs and symptoms of retinal detachment:
- Blurred vision
- Eye floaters accompanied by eye flashes
- Vagueness or blind spots in the field of vision