Your eyes are delicate and complicated organs, and even a minor infection can have a big impact on your sight and appearance. Any face-to-face communication involves eye contact, so a condition like conjunctivitis can be socially embarrassing, as well as physically uncomfortable. In this article, we'll explain the main causes of conjunctivitis, outline some simple treatments, and explain why an appointment with your optician should be your first course of action.
Conjunctivitis occurs when one part of the eye, called the conjunctiva, gets infected or swells up. This thin layer of clear tissue is designed to protect the eyes from harm, but it can easily be attacked by viruses or bacteria, resulting in various different symptoms. Fortunately, conjunctivitis is easily dealt with, and your optician is ideally placed to diagnose it and recommend a programme of treatment. There's no need to visit a doctor- our qualified optometrist can recommend most required medication.
Viral conjunctivitis is very common and often attacks one eye only. Classic symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are excessive itchiness and watering, and there are relatively few available treatments for this condition. Cool compresses and eye baths can help to soothe any itching, and it's important to avoid make-up for a week, giving your eyes the best chance to recover.
Unlike the viral strain, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with eye drops or creams. This type of conjunctivitis often produces small amounts of pus, which (as well as looking rather unpleasant) can make it difficult to open your eyes first thing in the morning. If the inner eyelids become infected as well, your eyes can feel gritty and sticky, as though something's trapped inside them. Fortunately, like viral conjunctivitis, these symptoms should go away within a few days.
The cause of allergic conjunctivitis can be hard to pinpoint, but new cosmetics or high pollen levels are classic triggers. Once a likely source has been identified, you should do your best to avoid it. This type of conjunctivitis often feels like a bad dose of hayfever, with itchiness and watery eyes. Running water can provide short-term relief, and your optometrist may decide to prescribe special antihistamine drops as well as lubricants to relieve the symptoms.
A few treatments are recommended for all forms of conjunctivitis. Gentle eye cleaning and cold compresses will ease discomfort, and regular hand-washing can prevent other people becoming infected. Conjunctivitis sufferers should use their own towels and tissues at all times, and contact lenses must be avoided (along with eye make-up) until the condition has cleared.
If you do not see an improvement then it may be a good idea to book an appointment by calling us on 01279 757767 and one of our optometrists will be able to help you further.
Along with poor lighting, regular computer use is one of the biggest causes of discomfort for your eyes. Headaches, uncomfortable dryness of the eyes, mental tiredness and a gradual loss of sharp vision throughout the day are all tell-tale signs that prolonged computer use might be contributing to undue strain on your eyesight.
Millions of us rely on computers to do our jobs, and many people unwind after a long day by web-surfing, on social media or instant messaging. Numerous studies have proved that looking at a monitor or phone doesn't damage your eyesight in itself, but like so many things in life, doing it to excess can be unhealthy. The eyes were not intended to stare at a screen for hours on end, so if this is part of your daily life, how can you ease the burden on your eyes?
Firstly, adjust your seating position as you would in a car. Set your monitor and seat so that the centre of the screen is around two feet away and positioned slightly below your natural eye level. Adjust the screen brightness so that it isn't too piercing or dull. If necessary change the standard font size on your computer; bigger text will be easier to read. Don't be tempted to squint in order to see things clearly, since muscle fatigue will almost inevitably follow.
Lighting is a crucial component in avoiding eye strain. If your computer is near a window, could sunshine make it hard to see things clearly? Harsh artificial lighting is another potential problem, especially in the office;full spectrum lighting is much better for you than standard bulbs or striplights, since it gives a more accurate representation of real daylight. It's also considered helpful in reducing seasonal affective disorder.
Other things you can do to reduce eye fatigue include taking a few minutes away from the screen every hour, giving your eyes a chance to focus on more distant objects. When we stare at things, we tend to blink less, but regular blinking helps to prevent the surface of our eyes from drying out. Contact lens users are particularly susceptible to this, although lubricant eye drops can also be used to help restore the tear film layer. Screen filters reduce glare in bright environments, and it's important to keep dust off your monitor - it's much harder to see the screen clearly
through a layer of grime.
If you habitually use a computer screen, legislation obliges your employer to provide and pay for regular eye examinations and to contribute towards any spectacles which may be required specifically for computer use.
For more information or to book an appointment please call us on 01279 757767
If you thought that you could only correct your vision by wearing contact lenses during the day think again.
Orthokeratology allows correction of up to -4.50 diopters of myopia (short-sightedness) by wearing a specially designed contact lens overnight and removing it once awake. Yes you read it right REMOVE the lens on waking. The contact lens temporarily redistributes the outer surface cells of the cornea therefore correcting vision so you to see with total freedom from contact lenses and spectacles.
Orthokeratology is also thought to help reduce myopia progression, so for children it not only gives them freedom from spectacles and contact lenses, it also helps to reduce the rate of deterioration.
If you would like more information on this click on the OrthoK link on our website or call us on 01279 757767. We will be happy to help.