How to treat common eye diseases? | Eye Health

How to treat common eye diseases?

“Eye diseases” is an umbrella phrase pertaining to a host of diseases affecting the health of your eyes and/or your vision. Here are the ways on how you can treat these common eye diseases.

How to treat common eye diseases

Some common eye diseases and how to treat them

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is fairly easy for an eye care professional to fix with glasses, contact lenses or surgery. Your eye care professional might prescribe curved eyeglass lenses to address the shape of the cornea (thin transparent jelly-like layer protecting the front of your eye) or lens (clear structure responsible for the focusing mechanism of your eye). To adapt to the glasses, begin by wearing them first thing in the morning for a few hours at a time. Adjust the duration of wearing your glasses as time passes.

You might need a special pair of contact lenses, like the soft toric lenses used for astigmatism. If you have severe astigmatism, rigid (hard) gas-permeable contact lenses can be useful.

Laser eye surgery for astigmatism (LASIK or PRK) is another alternative to reshape your cornea to focus light rays better. During this process, your ophthalmologist (eye doctor) numbs your eye with drops and uses a laser to make a thin flap on your cornea. Then, your ophthalmologist would pull your cornea back to expose its central layers while using a laser to sculpt them, followed by returning the flap to its original position.

Amblyopia 

You can treat amblyopia by putting a patch over the stronger eye. An eye patch should be comfortable, yet remain firmly in place. If you wear glasses, you can attach a patch to the lens.

It usually requires a few to several months to improve vision in the weaker eye with an eye patch. Once better vision is achieved, you might need to wear an eye patch part-time for a few months or years in case the weakened vision is rebound.

With amblyopia, the effectiveness of improving vision in the weaker eye by patching is more significant when started at a younger age. Attending regular eye check-ups to detect amblyopia and start timely treatment is important.

How to treat common eye diseases

Eye patch over the stronger (right eye) to address amblyopia in the weaker (left eye).

Dry eye 

If you have occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, you can regularly use over-the-counter eye drops (artificial tears). Yet other options exist if your symptoms are persistent and more serious, according to the underlying causes of your dry eyes. If a medication is causing your dry eyes, your doctor may recommend another medication that does not trigger that side effect. If your eyelids are turned outwards (ectropion) resulting in greater exposure and dryness of the front surface of your eye, you might have to see an oculoplastic surgeon (eye surgeon who specializes in plastic surgery of the eyelids).

Inflammation along the edge of your eyelids can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your eye care professional might prescribe eye drops that contain immune-suppressing medication such as cyclosporine (Restasis) or corticosteroids. Check with your eye care professional on any concerns you may have.

Conjunctivitis

Suitable treatment options for conjunctivitis depend on the cause of this eye condition. Avoid exposure to the irritant(s) if you have allergic conjunctivitis. If you have mild allergic conjunctivitis, artificial tears and cool compresses are usually sufficient to ease the discomfort.

If your conjunctivitis is more severe, antihistamines or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used. Persistent symptoms might require topical steroid eye drops. If you have bacterial conjunctivitis, your eye care professional might prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments needing around 3 to 5 days of treatment. Try to complete the entire course of antibiotics to ensure complete healing and avoid conjunctivitis from occurring again.

Presbyopia

Treatment options include wearing corrective glasses (spectacle lenses), contact lenses, undergoing LASIK surgery, or getting lens implants for presbyopia. Glasses are a simple, safe way to correct vision problems caused by presbyopia. You may be able to use over-the-counter (non-prescription) reading glasses if you had a good, uncorrected vision before developing presbyopia.

Ask your eye care professional if non-prescription glasses are suitable for you. People who don’t want to wear eyeglasses often try contact lenses to improve their vision problems caused by presbyopia.

Diabetic retinopathy

Should you have mild or moderate nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy, your eye care professional might schedule regular follow-up visits to monitor the health of your eyes and gauge when treatment is needed. You can slow down the development of mild diabetic retinopathy by good blood sugar control. In contrast, if you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy or macular edema, you might need treatment immediately, including getting your eyes injected with medications known as vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors. These medications curb the growth of new blood vessels.

Alternatively, you might opt for photocoagulation, a focal laser treatment to stop or slow the leakage of blood and fluid in the eye. Laser burns would treat the leaks from abnormal blood vessels.

Glaucoma

Although the damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, treatment and regular examinations can prevent vision loss, especially in its initial stages. Treatment options include lowering your eye pressure (intraocular pressure) with prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, surgery or a combination of options.

Increased eye pressure is caused by fluid buildup in the eye. Eye drops reduce eye pressure by enhancing fluid drainage from your eye or by reducing the amount of fluid your eye produces.

Age-related macular degeneration

In the early stages, treatment for this eye condition includes nutritional supplements like vitamins and minerals to slow the progression of dry AMD, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zinc, copper, zeaxanthin and beta carotene. In cases where age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is progressing, photodynamic therapy whereby your eye care professional uses injectable light-sensitive drugs and a laser to destroy extra blood vessels in the eye can be used.

Retinal detachment

For a retinal detachment, your treatment might entail laser (thermal) or freezing (cryopexy) to repair a tear in the early stages. Pneumatic retinopexy can be used, a process whereby your ophthalmologist injects a tiny gas bubble into your vitreous gel to close the tear in your eye.  After this procedure, you would have to hold your head in a certain position for several days for the bubble to remain in the right position.

Surgical options for retinal detachment include vitrectomy to address large tears or detachment. Vitrectomy is when your ophthalmologist removes the vitreous (jelly-like layer that fills the eyeball and gives it shape) and replaces it with a gas bubble or oil. A vitrectomy also might require you to hold your head in one position for some time.

We hope this article has provided you with some information on how to treat these common eye diseases. As always, if you have any doubts, please do consult with your eye care professional as they will provide you with the best recommendations.

References

VisionSource. 2021. Common Eye Diseases and Treatments | Vision Source. [online] Available at: <https://visionsource.com/patients/vision-care-products/eye-diseases/> [Accessed 5 November 2021].

Malik, U. and Malik, U., 2021. Most Common Eye Problems – Signs, Symptoms & Treatment | IrisVision. [online] IrisVision. Available at: <https://irisvision.com/most-common-eye-problems-signs-symptoms-and-treatment/#Conjunctivitis> [Accessed 5 November 2021].​​

WebMD. 2021. Astigmatism. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/astigmatism-eyes> [Accessed 5 November 2021].

American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2021. Amblyopia: Lazy Eye Diagnosis & Treatment. [online] Available at: <https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amblyopia-lazy-eye-treatment> [Accessed 5 November 2021].

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