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External Diseases

A quick look at some of the most common external eye diseases diagnosed and often treated at The O’Byrne Eye Clinic.

“Eye diseases” is a blanket term that refers to a host of diseases relating to the function of the eye. Below we describe some of the more common types of external eye diseases and how they are generally treated. For more in-depth information, please speak with your eye care provider at The O’Byrne Eye Clinic.


Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as Pink Eye, is an infection or inflammation of the conjunctiva – the thin, protective membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball and inner surface of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis is most typically caused by viral or bacterial infections, and sometimes even allergens and other irritants like smoke and dust. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and is usually accompanied by redness in the white of the eye and increased tearing and/or discharge.

While many minor cases improve within two weeks, some can develop into serious corneal inflammation and threaten sight. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you may be infected, be sure to call and schedule an appointment our providers can give you the treatment you need.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Approximately 22 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal itchy, swollen, red eyes. Airborne allergies, such as plant pollen, house dust, animal danger, and mold can cause allergies at any time.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or hay lover is the most common allergic eye problem. Symptoms include excessive watering, sensitivity to light, burning sensations, and redness. There are various antihistamines, anti inflammatory and decongestant eye drops which can be used to help resolve this issue.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is one of the most common eye diseases, affecting more than 3 million people a year. Dry eye syndrome occurs when your eyes are not able to produce enough tears to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes or they produce the inappropriate quality of tears to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable. Dry eyes are usually self-diagnosable and can be easily treated by your Ophthalmologist.

Symptoms include a burning or itching sensation in your eyes, sensitivity to light, eye redness, watery eyes, difficulty wearing contact lenses, difficulty driving at night, and intermittently blurred vision. Dry eyes are most common as people age and are particularly prevalent in post-menopausal women.

There are multiple treatments to help treat dry eyes including prescription and over the counter lubricating eye drops. Artificial tears, ointments, and punctual plugs are also beneficial treatments to help reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. At the O’Byrne Eye Clinic, we also offer our LipiFlow Treatment which is an in-office procedure that removes blockages from the meibomian glands resulting in ocular comfort because the glands are able to produce more tears.

If you believe you are suffering with dry eye syndrome, be sure to call our office and schedule an appointment so our providers can provide you with the treatment you need to not only increase your comfort, but protect your eyes as well.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid and eyelashes. It is among the most common and stubborn eye conditions usually caused by seborrhea dermatitis or a bacterial infection (usually staphylococcal), and sometimes a combination of both. Allergies, poor eyelid hygiene and abnormalities in oil gland functions can cause blepharitis as well.

Blepharitis may be connected to repeated styes or chalazions. Risk factors include seborrhea dermatitis to the face or scalp, rosacea, lice, and allergies. Symptoms include crustiness of the eyelids, redness, swelling, and itchy, burning eyelids.

Like some other skin conditions, blepharitis can be controlled but not cured. The main goal in treating it is to reduce the amount of bacteria along the lid margin and open plugged glands. Contact the O’Byrne Eye Clinic to assess the severity of your problem and the best treatment method.

Chalazion

A Chalazion is a slow-developing inflammatory lump in the tear gland of the eyelid, caused by a blockage and swelling of an oil gland. Chalazion’s often begin as a small, painless “bump” on the eyelid then will gradually grow bigger, red, and become swollen. Other symptoms may include itchy, sore eyelids that can be tender to the touch. People between the ages of 30-50 are more likely to develop a chalazion, but children can occasionally get them as well. People who have rosacea or blepharitis are also more prone to developing a chalazion.

Depending on the severity, most chalazions may not need treatment. To speed up the healing process, most doctors will recommend applying warm compresses on the eyelid for 10-15 minutes throughout the day. Most will eventually disappear within a few days but if it is long lasting, it may need to be removed by a doctor.