External Eye Disease
The external eye is susceptible to numerous infections and injuries because it is in direct contact with environmental elements. Maintaining external eye health is critical, since the outside of the eye serves to protect the more delicate internal structures. Some external eye diseases even carry the risk of causing vision damage if left unchecked, so at Westfield Eye Center we take external eye health very seriously.
If you would like to learn more about external eye disease, click here to request a consultation online with a qualified ophthalmologist in Las Vegas, Nevada at Westfield Eye Center.
Identifying and Treating Common External Eye Conditions
Many conditions can affect the external eye, ranging from minor concerns to serious diseases. Many of these can be treated in a relatively straightforward manner if identified early and treated quickly. However, recurrent or untreated infection or irritation of the outer eye can compromise overall eye health and vision. Among the most common external eye conditions we treat are blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and dry eye syndrome.
Blepharitis is a recurrent inflammation of the eyelids, which predominantly affects the lid margins at the base of the lashes. It is a common disorder which may be associated with various skin conditions or a bacterial infection. Symptoms include itching and burning, watering eyes, dry, flaky skin around the eyes, redness in and around the eye, crusty debris around the eye margins, and foreign body sensation.
Treatment of blepharitis is very important, as chronic blepharitis can eventually erode the lower portion of the cornea. Therapy usually involves aggressive eyelid hygiene measures, and in some cases, antibiotic treatment. Your eye doctor in Las Vegas can determine which approach will be most effective in treating your particular type of blepharitis.
Conjunctivitis is a common eye illness which is often referred to as "pink eye," for its characteristic symptom. The redness, burning, itching, and crustiness that accompany conjunctivitis can be caused by either external irritants - such as dust or allergens - or a virus or bacteria. The viral or bacterial forms of conjunctivitis can be highly contagious, and are often seen in young children, who catch them at school or daycare.
Treatment of pink eye depends on the type of conjunctivitis that you have. You will need to have an eye examination, and may have to have a culture taken for analysis by your ophthalmologist. Las Vegas, Nevada residents are particularly prone to allergic conjunctivitis, which is typically treated with lubricant eye drops and antihistamines. Viral conjunctivitis typically clears up on its own, but bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with medication. It is important to seek treatment from a qualified eye doctor to avoid permanent damage or scarring of the cornea.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common conditions treated by eye doctors in the United States. Symptoms include redness, irritation, burning, watery eyes, blurred vision that improves with blinking, and discomfort associated with reading or working on a computer. The problem has to do with the lubricant quality of the tear film produced by the eyes, not the quantity of tears produced. This is why we see that sufferers of dry eye syndrome may actually have excessive tearing.
There are many causes of dry eye syndrome, the most common of which is simply age. As we grow older, the body produces less oil, which affects the lubricant quality of the tears. Other causes include dry, windy conditions, which is why eye doctors in Las Vegas see such a high incidence of this condition. Contact lens wearers also have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome, as the lens may absorb much of the eye's natural lubrication.
Your ophthalmologist can offer you several options for treating your dry eyes. For many, artificial tears can provide relief, and these come in many different formulations and consistencies to suit your individual needs. Your eye doctor may choose to perform a procedure in which punctual plugs are used – either temporarily or permanently – to block the tear drain so that tears are retained within the eye, keeping it moist. There are also oral medications and lifestyle changes which your doctor may suggest to help with your dry eyes. It is important to seek treatment for dry eye syndrome, not only to reduce your discomfort, but to prevent damage to the cornea.
To find out more about treating external eye conditions, click here to request a consultation online with an experienced eye doctor in Las Vegas. Or, you may call our office at 702-362-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment.