Young Children (Developing Eye)
Ambylopia is also known as “lazy eye”. It is a condition where a young child’s eye may be developing with undiagnosed poor vision or untreated refractive error resulting in amblyopia. This will affect the child when he/she grows up.
With a permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes that may not be correctable with spectacles, the child may have difficulties in school as well as in activities outside school. Amblyopia requires early treatment to correct the vision before reduced vision becomes permanent.
Allergic Eye Disease
Allergic eye disease is also known as atopic keratoconjunctivitis and vernal keratoconjunctivitis. Patients may present with itchiness of the eyes and a history of allergies such as childhood asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Most commonly, affected children may be seen rubbing their eyes often and tearing. For more severe cases, it may even cause poor ocular surfaces and poor vision.
Typically, children are managed with allergen avoidance, preservative-free eye lubricants and anti-allergy eye drops. Such conditions require early detection and diagnosis to prevent poor vision in adulthood.
Contact Lens Overwear
Young adults’ eye conditions are usually related with their habits and lifestyles. Contact lens overwear is a common condition faced by contact lens users where the duration of wear is too long, resulting in redness, pain and blurring of vision. These symptoms are due to damage of the ocular surface from extended contact lens usage.
It is advisable to consult an eye specialist promptly in case of a contact lens related cornea infection, which may lead to permanent loss of vision if help is not sought early.
Floaters are commonly experienced by many patients. Usually, floaters are described as spots, lines or cobwebs floating in the visual field which is especially prominent in a bright background for example, a clear blue sky. Sometimes floaters may be accompanied by bright flashes of light in the visual field as there may be traction on the retina by the vitreous gel.
Floaters are generally benign; caused by degeneration of the vitreous gel in the eye. The gel being liquefied, “floats” with the eye movements. The image cast onto the retina forms the image of a floater.
Not all floaters are benign. Patients who are experiencing the following symptoms should consult an eye specialist as soon as possible:
- Floaters of recent onset
- Sudden increase in number of floaters
- Persistent and frequent flashes of light
- Floaters associated with a “curtain” covering part of the vision
- History of short-sightedness or recent injury to the eye
It is important to visit an eye specialist as soon as such symptoms arise so that any sight threatening conditions can be excluded. In general, floaters will not resolve and patients usually become accustomed to the presence of floaters in their visual fields.
Uveitis is a condition where the uveal tissue is inflamed. An example of uveal tissue is the iris. It is caused by a reaction of the body’s own immune system, infections or neoplasms occurring within the eye or in other parts of the body. Patients may experience redness, blurring of vision or photophobia.
It is important to see an eye specialist to exclude the causes of the uveitis, as sometimes it may be associated with systemic conditions such as connective tissue diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis etc.
Management is usually to investigate associated systemic conditions and to treat inflammation, alleviate pain and prevent further tissue damage. Different types of uveitis require different treatment, therefore it is important to consult an eye specialist if any of these symptoms are experienced.
Scleritis and Episcleritis
Scleritis and episcleritis are related to the inflammation of the sclera and episclera (the white of the eye and the membrane covering it). Scleritis is usually a painful condition where the sclera becomes severely inflamed and red. This condition may be related to systemic problems like uveitis.
Episcleritis is usually not painful and unrelated to systemic conditions. However, patient may feel discomfort his eye.
It is important to see an eye specialist to manage these conditions early.