What Is an Ocular Disease, and How Can You Improve Your Eye Health?
If you have been diagnosed with an ocular disease, it may be one of many eye-related conditions. Because many ocular diseases have no symptoms until they are very advanced, it’s important to see your optometrist regularly to catch potential problems early. Between exams, if you do notice anything unusual with your eyes or your vision, contact your eye care practitioner immediately and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Common ocular diseases include:
- Age-related macular degeneration – a physical disturbance of the macula (the center of the retina)
- Cataracts – a degenerative disease in which the lens becomes opaque and affects the vision
- Color blindness – a deficiency in color vision
- Crossed eyes – inability of the eyes to focus on the same point at the same time; eyes appear to be pointing in different directions
- Eye floaters or flashes – small clouds or specks that move across your field of vision
- Glaucoma – a buildup of fluid that creates pressure within the eye
- Keratoconus – an abnormality in the shape of the cornea
- Lazy eye – poor vision in an eye caused by inadequate use in childhood
- Ocular hypertension – abnormally high pressure in the eye
- Uveitis – inflammation inside the eye
Symptoms to watch for
Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms.
- Sudden or severe eye pain
- Pain that persists or recurs in or around the eye
- Blurry, hazy, or double vision
- Seeing floating spots or flashes of light
- Unusual sensitivity to light
- Redness or swelling
- White spots in the pupil
- Color changes in the iris
- Burning, itching, or heavy discharge
- Any sudden change in your vision
Keeping your eyes healthy
Not all ocular diseases can be prevented, but there are many things you can do to maximize your odds of maintaining good eye health and clear vision for as long as possible. Be sure to:
- Eat well. Just like your overall health, good eye health begins with what you put on your plate. To keep your eyes healthy, consume plenty of green leafy vegetables, protein sources such as eggs and nuts, oily fish such as salmon and tuna, and citrus fruits. Healthy eating offers a bonus: making it easier to stay at your ideal weight, thus lowering your chances of developing diabetes, the number-one cause of blindness in adults.
- Wear sunglasses. Excess UV exposure can increase your chances of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other ocular diseases. Look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Choose polarized lenses if you have trouble with glare while driving.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, you are more likely to damage your optic nerve and to develop cataracts and macular degeneration. If you’ve tried to quit before and failed, try again. The more times you try quitting, the more likely success becomes. Ask your healthcare professional for assistance.
- Look away from your computer or phone. Staring at a screen for too long can lead to problems such as blurry vision, eye strain, dry eye, headaches, and more. Use the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Make (and keep) regular optometrist appointments. People of all ages need regular eye exams. Seeing your optometrist regularly helps protect your eyesight, ensures that your vision is optimal, and reveals diseases such as glaucoma that may have no obvious symptoms.
If you have noticed any worrisome symptoms or have questions about your risk of an ocular disease, contact us today to book an appointment. We’ll be happy to help ensure that your eyes are monitored and that any potential problems are identified as early as possible and the right treatment methods started.