Find yourself experiencing more and more eye issues the older you get? You’re not alone! Keep reading to learn more about the most common eye problems, what causes them and how you can try to fix them.
Cause: For the most part, cataracts occur as you get older. When you’re younger, the lenses in your eyes are clear, but as you approach your 40s and beyond, the proteins in your eye have the tendency to start to break down and clump together. This situation causes what looks like a cloudy area on your lens, AKA a cataract. Over time, they can get more severe and cloudier.
Remedy: Overall, the only way to cure cataracts is with surgery. However, there are a few steps you can take to make small changes in the earlier stages of the cataract developing, such as:
- Using brighter lights in your home or at work
- Investing in a pair of anti-glare sunglasses
- Trying out magnifying lenses for reading
- Getting new glasses or contacts
However, once the cataracts start to interfere with your everyday activities, it’s time to discuss surgery with an expert.
Problem: Dry Eye Syndrome
Cause: Dry eyes is a chronic condition where your eye lacks a normal, healthy tear layer. Usually, a tear layer is made up of water, oil/ lipids and mucus and is essential for clear vision. There are many factors that can cause or contribute to dry eye syndrome, such as aging, medications or previous eye surgery.
Remedy: While dry eye can be a recurring problem, there are both topical and procedural treatments that can help alleviate your symptoms. In most cases, your doctors will work with you to find the cause of your dry eye and develop a treatment plan that best suits you.
Cause: The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, however, it mostly deals with a buildup of pressure inside your eye. The elderly, African-Americans, and those with a family history are at increased risk of developing glaucoma.
Remedy: Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, however, there are a few options that help slow the progression. The most common treatment is medication drops, but it is crucial to adhere to daily doses. For those who haven’t experienced any change with drops, laser treatment might be the best next step. These lasers can drain the fluid out of your eye, which helps alleviate the pressure. Lastly, if neither of these options work, it’s best to consult with your doctor about surgery.
Cause: Floaters are extremely common and tend to increase as you get older. They occur when cells or other materials in your eye clump together in the vitreous, which is the gel-like fluid in your eye.
Remedy: There is no treatment for floaters. As they arise spontaneously, they mostly fade and become less noticeable as time goes on. In extreme cases, surgery might be suggested as a cure. However, this is extremely rare, thus never really recommended.
Problem: Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Cause: AMD is an eye disease that gets worse over time. It causes loss in the center of the field of vision, and there are two forms: wet and dry. The center of the retina deteriorates in dry macular degeneration, while blood vessels grow both under and into the retina in wet macular degeneration.
Remedy: As of now, there is no cure for AMD, however, there are a few steps you can take to slow the disease and try to prevent severe vision loss, such as: anti-angiogenic drugs, laser therapy, photodynamic laser therapy, vitamins and low vision aids.
Problem: Retinal Detachment
Cause: The retina is the tissue in the back of the eye. When there is buildup of fluid behind the retina, it can separate from its underlying structures, causing retinal detachment.
Remedy: Surgery is the best treatment for a detached retina, which includes lasers that can help improve vision affected by the detachment.
Problem: Conjunctivitis (AKA Pink Eye)
Cause: Pink eye is most commonly caused by either bacterial or viral infections. In some cases, it can also be caused by irritants such as chemicals, allergens or pollutants.
Remedy: If you find yourself with infectious conjunctivitis, most of these cases are viral and do not need antibiotics. The best way to reduce the spread is frequent hand washing and refraining from sharing eye drops, makeup, etc.
Your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotic drops or ointments if you have bacterial conjunctivitis. In some cases, a crusty discharge might develop and make it difficult to open your eyes. In these instances, a warm, wet compress can be applied to the area to remove the crust along the eyelid.
Cause: A sty occurs when the oil glands at the base of your eyelashes become infected.
Remedy: The best treatment for a sty is placing warm compresses on the affected area. The amount of times you use a compress a day can vary, but for the best results, you should leave it on for 10 minutes and up to six times daily. If you notice a head form (similar to a pimple) and pus coming out of it, you should clean the area gently with soap and water. This usually means the sty will be going away soon.
Cause: Astigmatism is another eye problem in which the cause is a mystery. Genetics play a large part, and while it usually presents itself at birth, it can develop later in life as well. It occurs when your cornea has an irregular curve.
Remedy: Mild causes of astigmatism might not require treatment, and more often than not, glasses or contacts can do the trick. In some cases, you might have to turn to orthokeratology, which consists of firm contact lenses that temporarily correct the curvature of your cornea. If you’re experiencing a more severe case, your doctor will most likely suggest surgery to reshape your cornea.
Problem: Eye Allergies
Cause: Last but not least, eye allergies are one of the most common eye problems and affect up to 30% of the general population each year. There are many different causes of eye allergies, the most common being dust, seasonal allergies or sensitivity to cosmetics or medications.
Remedy: Your best bet for allergy relief is over-the-counter eye drops. For a stronger or more effective dose, look for ones that contain antihistamines or decongestants.
Find yourself experiencing one or a few of these common issues and googling “optometrist near me” to try and find a remedy? Look no further!
Located in Camp Hill, PA and Harrisburg, PA, Premier Eye Care Group team is here to provide you with the best eye treatment and care. Contact us at (717) 232-0843 or (717) 761-3077 to schedule an appointment today!