Other eye conditions
There are a range of other eye diseases and disorders that require expert diagnosis and treatments.
Diabetic retinopathy is a serious complication of diabetes that damages the blood vessels inside the retina. High blood sugar levels and blood pressure cause these vessels (capillaries) to leak or be blocked. It’s made even more severe by high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
When the retinal blood vessels are compromised, they leak blood and other fluids. As a result, the retinal tissue swells, causing blurring and loss of vision. It’s known that controlling diabetes and blood pressure are key factors in preventing sight loss.
A retinal detachment is when the retina separates from the eyeball. If the retina is damaged you can lose your vision.
A retinal detachment will most likely begin at the edge of the retina. This means that while floaters or flashes of light might occur, there may not be any noticeable symptoms. Often, the next sign of a detached retina is a dark shadow to the side of your vision, which then slowly moves closer to the centre. Anyone who experiences these symptoms must urgently seek medical help.
- Corneal abrasion is a minor scratch on the cornea. A corneal abrasion is commonly caused by an accident or by rubbing the eyes when a foreign body is present. Often painful, symptoms include rapid blinking and watery eyes. Antibiotics may be prescribed and a short term use of topical anaesthetic will help to reduce the pain.
- Corneal erosion is when the epithelium (the layer of tissue that covers the front of the cornea) wears away. It is caused by the failure of the cornea’s outermost layer of cells to attach to underlying membrane. This results in exposure of the sensitive cornea nerves. Corneal erosion can be recurrent and take months or years to resolve.
- Corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea. Most are the result of a bacterial infection, however they can also be caused by viral and fungal infections and trauma. If you wear contact lenses, you’ll be more prone to developing a corneal ulcer. Because a serious corneal ulcer can cause vision loss, early treatment is essential.
Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea - it can be painful and may temporarily affect vision. It’s usually the result of an infection, injury or wearing contact lenses for too long. Only in rare cases will it lead to complications that can permanently damage your sight.
There are a number of ways to treat keratitis, depending on the cause. You’ll typically be placed on antibacterial, antifungal, or antiviral eye drops or ointments to prevent further infection.
A healthy cornea is usually round or dome-like in shape, like a soccer ball. In keratoconus, the thinning of the cornea causes the natural, round shape to become more cone-like. This results in visual impairment and blurred vision both near and at a distance.
In the early stages of keratoconus, glasses may be all that is required. However, there are a range of other treatments should the disorder progress, including collagen cross-linking.
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