Medical Eye Care
Did you know that in order to properly diagnose eye conditions such as infections and scratches, an instrument called the slit lamp needs to be used? The slit lamp magnifies and highlights structures of your eyes so the doctor can actually see the problem rather than diagnosing solely based on symptoms. Which is what is done when you go to your primary care/family doctor and pediatrician’s office. Only an eye doctor’s office has a slit lamp and thus, they are the only ones who can most accurately diagnose and treat medical eye conditions.
Eye infections are a danger no matter where you live, what your lifestyle is like, or what time of year it is. While contacts and seasonal allergies, for instance, can both lead to eye infections, so can a multitude of other factors. Whether or not you currently have an eye infection, it’s a good idea to know the signs. If you are currently experiencing an infection, it’s critical you get to your eye doctor as soon as possible.
The causes and symptoms of eye infections are extremely wide-ranging, but our eye doctor sees all types of these cases on a regular basis, meaning you aren’t “safe” from any type of infection. Infections are either viral or bacterial in nature. Both types of pathogen come from contact with an unclean surface. This could be a hand, a facial tissue or a contact that hasn’t been properly cleaned. Allergies cause runny eyes and noses, both of which create a good environment for breeding bacteria and viruses, once introduced.
Signs that you have an eye infection include:
- Reddening of the sclera, or white part of the eye
- Swelling or redness in the inner eye, eyelid or nearby areas
- Weeping or mucus, either clear, white, yellow or green
- Itchiness and flaking on the outer part of the eye
- Consistent burning in the eye or on surrounding surfaces
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an eye doctor.
When You Should See an Optometrist and Get an Eye Exam
Still not sure if you need to see an optometrist for an eye exam to determine whether or not you have an infection? Our advice is always to head in to see the optometrist when you suspect you have an infection, not when it’s become full-blown. Some infections can be potentially blinding, especially after eye trauma or eye surgery, so it’s critical you come in for an exam for a diagnosis and course of treatment right away.
Come See Us Today
No matter what our schedule is like, we will be sure to get you in same day if you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms.
Catching an infection early means quick treatment and a reduced chance of long-term consequences. Even simple infections such as conjunctivitis can lead to degraded eye health if they aren’t dealt with quickly and promptly. Please contact us today by calling or texting us at 512-528-5528, and we’ll set up an appointment right away. We look forward to it.
- Normal Eye Upper Left: Cornea is clear without any grayish spots (infiltrates) or staining. Upper Right: Tissue on under side of upper eye lid (palpebral conjunctiva) is normal and is smooth, pinkish, and without bumps (papillae) associated with giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). Lower Left: Reflection on cornea demonstrates a normal epithelium without distortion. Lower Right: Corneal Topography Reflections on cornea demonstrate a normal epithelium without distortion.
- Corneal Staining due to allergic sensitivity to disinfecting solution Corneal Staining with Sodium Fluorescein secondary to allergic sensitivity to multi purpose disinfecting solution. Note the pattern of staining (green spots) on the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium). These are damaged cells. This patient complains of discomfort and blurry vision. This condition will resolve and the staining will go away within a few weeks after changing to a different solution. If due to suspected sensitivity of solution, our treatment would be to discontinue contact lens wear until staining is gone, and then resume contact lens usage with Clear Care disinfectant.
- Corneal Infiltrates due to allergic sensitivity to disinfecting solution This is Corneal Infiltrative Keratitis secondary to allergic sensitivity to multi purpose disinfecting solution. Note the grayish spots on the cornea. This patient complains of discomfort and blurry vision. This condition will resolve after changing solution or discontinuing contacts. Sometimes it may takes weeks or months for this to resolve and for the cornea to become clear again. Treatment would be to discontinue contacts until resolved, and then change disinfecting solution. We may prescribe an antibiotic eye drop if epithelium is damaged.
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)Is a slowly developing allergic reaction to soiled contact lenses which are used for more than recommended intervals. This is why disposable lenses were developed and why you are supposed to replace them on a frequent basis. This condition will resolve and the tissue (palpebral conjunctiva) will become smooth and pink again (see photo 1) if lenses are not worn or if this patient replaces their lenses more frequently as recommended by the FDA. This was very common 20 years when patients were using “traditional soft contact lenses”. which have been replaced by disposables. The intent of disposable soft lenses was to reduce the incidence of GPC. However, we are seeing more GPC because patients are using disposable contact lenses beyond the recommended replacement intervals. GPC is a valid argument for prescribing single use 1-Day Disposable Lenses, or reinforcing to patients to replace their lenses frequently, and not overuse each pair.
- Corneal Abrasion Due to Foreign BodyParticulate matter which became lodged in the eye or under the eyelid, and subsequently scratched the cornea. It could be sand, metal, or a piece of sheetrock. The Doctor usually diagnoses it based upon the activities the patient was involved prior to the complaint. Something got in their eye, and became lodged between their contact lens and the cornea, or became attached to the underside of the upper eye lid and repetively scratched the cornea with each blink. In the photo below, the vertical, and up and down orientation of the scratches are classic for this diagnosis. The greenish appearance of the photo is due to sodium fluorescein which we instill to help diagnose such problems. This patient is in pain and requires an antibiotic as prophylaxis to prevent infection of the corneal epithelial wound or damage. In more severe cases, such as a paper cut, we would have them wear a contact lens as a “bandage lens” until the wound heals. After that we would inform them of the possibility and symptoms of a “recurrent corneal erosion” which may occur after a corneal injury, and necessitate further treatment.
A corneal ulcer is an injury to the epithelium of the cornea and is considered an ocular emergency. A corneal ulcer causes pain, discomfort and, in many cases, blurry vision. The reason patients consult us is usually because of the pain. The most common reason that patients present with a corneal ulcer is that they slept in their contacts. The treatment for a corneal ulcer is to discontinue contact lens usage, and prescribe an antibiotic. The patient must be compliant and not use contacts on the affected eye for up to 3-4 weeks. The highly magnified photo below is from a biomicroscope that we use to diagnose such problems. Note the round spot, which is the marginal corneal ulcer.
Neovascularization of the Cornea.New blood vessel in-growth to the cornea in response to using lower oxygen contact lenses. The cornea receives its oxygen supply from the air in front of the cornea. When it is covered by a contact lens the oxygen supply is reduced and the cornea responds by suppying new (neo) vessels to deliver more oxygen. This occurs more often when patients sleep in contacts and is why silicone hydrogel lenses are better because the are more oxygen permeable.
Corneal Foreign Body, Metal Note the brown spot on the right side peripheral cornea. This usually occurs as a result of grinding, welding, and hammering metal. The metal particle has become brown due to it rusting and needs to be removed because it is toxic to the cornea.
** Photo Courtesy of Review of Optometry, Bausch u0026amp; Lomb, Review of Optometry Handbook of Ocular Disease Management.The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any links to this page or other sites are provided for information only, they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.