Body & Fitness

For your eyes only

Many of us take our vision for granted, but eyes can’t be replaced so it’s important to take care of them

Eye problems should not be ignored. While they could be due to something minor, they can also lead to complications that may threaten your eyesight. Here’s a guide to some of the most common eye disorders.

Red and irritated eyes

Possible causes: There are many likely reasons, but the most common are infection, allergy, inflammation, broken blood vessels or an injury. If the white of your eye looks pink or red, it could also be due to conjunctivitis, and you’ll most likely also be experiencing itching, stinging, swelling, watering or a discharge from the eye.

What to do: Try to avoid rubbing your eye – you’ll just make it worse. Wash your hands frequently – if you do inadvertently touch your eye and your hands are dirty, you could make things worse by causing an infection. Your doctor can prescribe appropriate treatment depending on what is causing the problem.

Puffy eyes

Possible causes: If the skin around the eyes becomes puffy, it could be due to an allergy. Some women who suddenly develop puffy eyes may find that their eye make-up is causing the irritation.

What to do: If you suspect it is due to make-up, carefully remove it using a gentle make-up remover. Gently bathe the eyes and refrain from wearing any cosmetics near the affected area until the swelling goes away. Once the puffiness has cleared, try using the make-up on a small patch of skin and see if there is a reaction. You may need to switch to a different type of make-up.

Itching and watery eyes

Possible causes: An allergy that can be seasonal and due to pollen or dust mites, or it can be the result of something irritating getting into your eyes.

What to do: Try putting a cold, wet compress on your closed eyes. If there is something in your eye, washing it out with an eye bath can help. Antihistamines can help in the case of seasonal allergies.

Spots and floaters

Possible causes: Seeing little spots or floating shapes in your vision is quite common and can be due to bits of protein and other tissue becoming embedded in the clear, gel-like material that fills in the inside of the eye. You’re more likely to notice them with age. However, in some cases, floaters can be a sign of something more serious, especially when accompanied by flashes of light or when you see clouds of them, rather than one or two. This may be caused by a detached retina, which is a serious condition.

What to do: See a doctor to get spots and floaters checked out. If you do have a retinal detachment, it can usually be treated if found soon enough. However, if it is ignored, it can lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.

Blurred vision

Possible causes: This may be down to failing eyesight or it could be due to tiredness or eye strain. This is often the case if the blurring is mild and comes and goes. If the blurring happens suddenly and is severe, see a doctor immediately. It could be a sign of a problem with the retina, which is serious. It can also be a symptom of stroke.

What to do: In mild cases, resting the eyes can help ease blurring, especially if you have been staring at a screen for long periods of time. Book an eye test in case it is due to a vision problem.

Eye pain

Possible causes: There are many reasons why you can end up with eye pain, from dull and aching through to sharp and stabbing. It may be due to an inflammation or to having dry eyes. Dull pain can be due to eye strain or even sinus problems.

What to do: If you have pain, see a doctor immediately, especially if the eye is also red or your vision is blurred. Over-the- counter painkillers can help to take some of the pain away. If dry eyes are the reason, your doctor can prescribe eye drops.

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