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RED EYE EVALUATION AND EYE EMERGENCIES
Mayfair Eye Care provides emergency eye care to those whose eye health or vision is at risk. Patients may experience red, pink, sore, itchy, watery eyes or discharge in their eyes from various causes, including bacterial or viral infections, allergies, foreign bodies in the eye, and trauma to the eye. It is imperative to seek medical care with a doctor immediately if you are experiencing any eye redness, pain, or sudden vision loss. Our optometrists are experienced in evaluating your symptoms and diagnosing and providing treatment promptly for a variety of eye conditions.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, transparent tissue that lines the white part of the eye (sclera) and inside of the eyelids. Although the conjunctiva is clear, it contains blood vessels that overlay the sclera. Inflammation causes these blood vessels to dilate, which results in red, bloodshot eyes.
Anyone can get pink eye, but children and teenagers are more at risk for developing it because they work closely with others at school. This condition in most cases can be easily treated and with a few simple precautions, can often be avoided.
The primary types of conjunctivitis, based on cause, are:
- Viral conjunctivitis – caused by a virus, like the common cold. This type of pink eye is very contagious and in some cases can spread to the other eye. Common symptoms include watery, irritated eyes and light sensitivity.
- Bacterial conjunctivitis – caused by a bacterial infection. This type of conjunctivitis is also contagious and can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. A sticky, yellow or greenish eye discharge in the corner of the eye or eyelids is often present.
- Allergic conjunctivitis – caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and animal dander. Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal (pollen) or flare up year-round (dust and pet dander). The symptoms are often watery, itchy eyes.
Many precautions can be taken in order to avoid or prevent pink eye from occurring. These include:
- Never share washcloths, hand towels or tissues
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes
- Wash your hands frequently
- NEVER share your contact lenses with others!
- ALWAYS follow your eye doctor’s instructions regarding contact lens care and replacement
- NEVER swim or use a hot tub while wearing your contact lenses – always remove them prior!
- If you know you suffer from seasonal allergies, ask your doctor what can be done to minimize your symptoms before they begin
If you are concerned that you or your child may have pink eye, please make an appointment with one of our optometrists today!
Blepharitis is a chronic ocular condition where the eyelids become inflamed/swollen due to a build-up of bacteria within the eyelashes and along the lid margins. Oily, dandruff-like flakes and particles accumulate at the base of the eyelashes and can cause inflammation, presenting as red, swollen lid margins.
Furthermore, bacteria secrete enzymes that breakdown the lipid layer of the tear film. Our tear film is made up of a mucous, water, and lipid layer. The lipid layer is composed of oil secreted by the glands in our eyelids, known as meibomian glands. This oil layer acts as a ‘barrier’ and stabilizes the tear film on the eye. When the glands fail to secrete properly, the tear film evaporates more rapidly and results in symptoms of dry eye. Symptoms include burning or stinging eyes, crusty debris at the base of eyelashes, irritation/foreign body sensation, watery eyes, grittiness, or itchy eyes.
Blepharitis can be associated with skin conditions, such as ocular rosacea, eczema, dandruff and psoriasis. It is also a common cause of contact lens discomfort, resulting in many people to give up wearing contacts. If you are concerned that you may have blepharitis, please make an appointment with one of our optometrists today!
A stye, or hordeolum, is a localized infection in the eyelid that causes a red, tender bump near the edge of the lid. The infection is caused by bacteria and can occur at the base of an eyelash (external hordeolum) or within of the oil glands within the eyelid (internal hordeolum). The lid bump can often be red, painful and tender to touch but do not cause vision problems.
Unlike a pimple, you should never attempt to “pop” a stye, as this could spread the infection to other areas of the eye. If you are concerned that you may have a stye, please make an appointment with one of our optometrists today!
Uveitis, or iritis, is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uvea) that consists of the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Uveitis can have many cases, including eye injury and inflammatory diseases. The type of uveitis is also classified by where inflammation occurs: anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris and ciliary body), intermediate uveitis (inflammation of the ciliary body), posterior uveitis (inflammation of the choroid), and panuveitis (inflammation of all areas of the uvea).
Uveitis occurs most frequently in people ages 20 to 50 and effects men and women equally. Anterior uveitis is the most common form. Symptoms include eye pain, redness, light sensitivity, and decreased vision.
Uveitis can be chronic and cause numerous complications, including clouding of the cornea, cataracts, elevated eye pressure, glaucoma, swelling of the retina or retinal detachment. These complications can result in permanent vision loss. If you are concerned that you may have uveitis, please make an appointment with one of our optometrists today!
Flashes & Floaters
Floaters are often described as tiny spots, specks, or “cobwebs” that drift around in our field of vision with eye movements. Floaters typically appear when tiny pieces of the eye’s gel-like structure, the vitreous, break loose and float around within the back portion of the eye. Throughout our youth, the vitreous has a gel-like consistency that slowly begins to dissolve and liquefy as we age. The undissolved gel particles can take on many shapes and sizes and can occasionally floater around in the more liquid areas of the vitreous. This phenomenon is very common and usually isn’t a cause for alarm. Many patients will report floaters to be very annoying initially, but many will fade over time and become less bothersome. Our brain is fortunately very good at adapting to these and “tuning them out” on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, in most cases no treatment is required.
If you see a shower of floaters, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light, you should seek care from an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately. Light flashes can occur when your retina receives non-visual (mechanical) stimulation. These flashes may appear as lightning bolts, flickering lights or random sparks. This could mean either that the vitreous is pulling away from your retina or has tugged on the retina enough to cause a small tear or hole, which can lead to a retinal detachment.
Eye injuries, such as puncture wounds, could require immediate treatment or surgery, while minor scratches or bruises may need only simple monitoring and treatment after your initial visit to your optometrist.
Common conditions associated with eye injuries/trauma include:
- Scratched eye (corneal abrasion)
- Foreign objects in the eye (metal
- Eyelash stuck in the eye
- Chemical burn
- Eye swelling/bruising
- Eye bleeding (subconjunctival hemorrhage)
- Traumatic Uveitis
In order to prevent an eye injury from occurring, it is important to wear safety goggles or glasses during any task that may put your eyes and vision at risk. If you have experienced an injury to your eye, visit one of our optometrists or the emergency room at the Rockyview General Hospital immediately for care.