Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What are styes? How do I get them?

Hordeolums (aka styes) are caused by your most common bacteria, which creep into your oil glands near your eyelashes leading to a painful inflammatory response.  The skin becomes swollen, tender and vision can become impaired by this monster pimple on your eye.  However this kind of pimple should NEVER be popped, allow me to explain its birth and death.  

Skin types are extremely important when determining when and how often hordeolums may occur.  If you have a history of acne or even oily skin, unfortunately the incidence will increase.  The glands will have more oils leading to a blockage, which will allow bacteria to grow.  The bacteria will infect this open gland at the base of your lashes and cause an inflammatory response (aka the birth of the stye).  Therefore the cleaner you keep your lashes (reducing oily build-up); the less often these inflammatory responses will occur.  Washing your lashes with warm water (no soap) by massaging your eyelids with your finger tips at least once a day will do the trick in preventing them.  Replacing make-up often will also help reduce the incidence.  

Treatment of the full-blown stye is just as easy with your optometrist to guide you through it.  Warm compresses are usually suggested several times a day (5 minutes with warm towel sitting on your tortured eye) along with an antibacterial prescription (provided by your optometrist).  The warmth will help to open the glands and release all the bacteria, again you aren't mechanically popping the stye (NEVER pop), make sure to wipe away an excess pus/mucous.  A visit to your optometrist will help with pain management and proper diagnosis of the condition.  Keep those eyelids clean and hopefully this stye will be your last.     

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What can I do with my blood-shot eyes?

Hyperemia of the conjunctiva, aka blood-shot eyes, may occur for a handful of reasons that can be easily solved.  A visit with your optometrist will save those eyeballs.  

Reason number one, being the most common (90%) of all, is strain.  When eyes are trying to focus on the world, using interior and exterior muscles (welcome wrinkles), the eye will find a way to complain by becoming red.  It's a system build into the body to alert extreme fatigue.  Tearing, headaches and frequent blinking could accompany the redness.  Often times patients are completely unaware of mild blur and blame stress or allergies on their present condition.  I suggest a visit with your eye care professional to rule out a need for glasses.  

Reason number two is most often presented with other symptoms.  There may be itching and swollen eyes in conjunction with the redness, a clear sign of allergic conjunctivitis (that implies a swelling of the conjunctiva; clear layer above white layer).  If there is yellow discharge and sticky lashes in conjunction with the redness, you may have a bacterial conjunctivitis.  Both are quite annoying and will have a patient running to the optometrist within days of onset.  Worry not; there are medications for both issues.  

Reason number three is more subtle and longer lasting.  Dry eyes are a painful condition that can last for years for some patients leading to constant redness.  It usually starts very slowly and can become worse with age, especially for post-menopausal women.  Changes in diet (lowering fats) can also create a dry eye syndrome for a patient, be aware of those lifestyle changes.  Allow your optometrist to ask dietary and hormonal questions which may lead to a better assessment of your hyperemia.  Treatments do exist for this condition, however be aware they vary from case to case. 

In all these cases I highly recommend consulting your optometrist to better address your needs.  Using visine, clear-eyes or any other brand to mask the redness is simply hiding the trust of the real issue at hand.  Don't delay your treatment because relief is right around the corner.   

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles