Dealing with Common Eye Irritations
At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we deal with all sorts of eye problems, from refractive errors that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to more serious conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy that can lead to permanent vision loss. However, the eyes are very sensitive organs and there are several different minor issues that can affect them as well. While these may not necessarily be dangerous threats that warrant a trip to the eye doctor, understanding how to deal with them safely and effectively can help you avoid serious issues down the line.
A loose eyelash stuck to the surface of the eye can be extremely irritating, but it can also almost always be easily remedied. First, try blinking your eyes repeatedly. This will stimulate natural tear production and help wash the eyelash away. If this does not work, flushing the eye with a sterile saline solution or even gently wiping the surface of the eye clean cotton swab can successfully remove the lash. If you are still unable to relieve the irritant, however, it is best to come into the office for additional assistance, as repeated itching and irritation can potentially result in a serious infection or even a corneal ulcer.
A Painful Stye
A stye is a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid, similar in appearance to a pimple, which occurs when an eyelash follicle becomes infected. It may be the result of wearing contact lenses (particularly disposable lenses) for longer than is recommended or of simply touching the eye with dirty fingers. Most importantly, do NOT try to “pop” a stye, as this may cause the infection to spread into the eye itself and potentially result in permanent vision loss. Instead, a warm compress applied a few times a day will help unclog the infected oil gland, allowing for natural drainage. If the stye does not improve, schedule an appointment with our consultative optometrist, Dr. Marc Lay. Antibiotic ointment, a steroid injection, or (in very rare cases) surgery may be required in order to alleviate the concern.
Serious eye fatigue, or computer vision syndrome (CVS) as it is sometimes known, is one of the most frequent workplace complaints today and can potentially lead to a number of related health concerns. The intense focus needed for activities like computer work or driving can, over time, strain the tiny muscles that control the focus of the eyes, leading to dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. In order to avoid this computer vision syndrome, get into the habit of taking regular breaks and following the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Although usually harmless, frequent episodes of eye strain may potentially be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and so should be checked by an eye doctor.
Even though these particular issues can, in many cases, be easily remedied at home, long-term eye health requires regular care and maintenance. One of the reasons why we recommend that our patients come in at regularly scheduled intervals for comprehensive medical eye exams is that many serious eye conditions may not manifest symptoms until damage has already started to occur. If we can catch these conditions early, we can treat them before they can impact your vision. If you have any questions or concerns about your vision, or if you would like to schedule an eye exam with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment.