Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eye Conditions – Modern technology means most can be cured. by Kathryn Dawson

As the eyes are one of the most delicate parts of your body, eye conditions can give cause for concern. However, due to modern technology there are very few eye conditions which cannot be treated in one form or another. There are many options available for vision correction and most can be carried out with a minimum of pain and disruption to your life.

For example, glaucoma is an eye condition which often gives cause for concern. It occurs when the optic nerve suffers damage at the point where it leaves the eye. It is this nerve which allows the brain to interpret what the eye sees. This damage can be caused by a number of things including raised pressure in the eye or a weakness in the optic nerve. The majority of cases will have both of these causes as a factor.

There are four types of glaucoma. Chronic glaucoma occurs when the aqueous fluid in your eye builds up. Normally this can travel through the eye's drainage channels but these gradually block up over a period of several years. This type of glaucoma is not necessarily painful, but vision will become increasingly impaired. Acute glaucoma occurs when your drainage channels block suddenly. This type is painful and requires immediate treatment. Secondary glaucoma occurs when the raised eye pressure has been caused by another condition. Developmental glaucoma occurs in babies where there is a deformity in the eye.

Age is a determining factor when considering glaucoma. Five percent of people over the age of 65 suffer from the condition in one form or another. Those with an African heritage are more likely to suffer from the chronic form of the condition. If you are short-sighted or have a family member with the condition then you are also more likely to contract it.

If you have chronic glaucoma then the treatment is designed to reduce the pressure in your eye and increase the blood flow to the nerve. Eye drops will usually be the first type of treatment that is tried. These are designed to either encourage the drainage channels to open or reduce the amount of fluid there. Laser treatment could be the next step if the drops do not work or glaucoma surgery known as a 'trabeculectomy' can be carried out to help the fluid drain from your eye. Treatment is different for every person and your specialist will discuss the best options with you.

If you are suffering from acute glaucoma then this could mean a spell in hospital for treatment to relieve the pressure and the pain. Glaucoma surgery could also be carried out for this to allow the excess fluid to drain away.

Cataracts are one of the eye conditions that affect many people, particularly the elderly. Surgery is often required for vision correction and can be carried out as soon as the condition begins to affect your ability to carry out everyday tasks. This involves replacing the defective lens of your eye with a synthetic one and surgery can be carried out in as little as 20 minutes.

There are a number of other eye conditions which range from macular degeneration – which helps us to distinguish colour and fine detail – to Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a relatively rare condition which causes the sufferer to see things which are not there. If you feel that there is a problem with your vision then your first port of call should be your optician, who can test your eyes and refer you to a specialist if required. If you are wary of treatment then you should be aware that in most cases vision correction can be carried out relatively painlessly, and the earlier you are treated, the greater the chances of success.