EYES' HEALTH

Eye is one of the most important organs to us. It not only allows us to see shapes, depth and different vibrant colors, but also helps to manage the light signals which keep our body’s “internal clock” running properly. Eye is also the most vulnerable part of our body, thus, it needs our protection for maintaining normal vision. Overworked eyes contribute many short- and long-term eye and vision problems, such as dry eye and myopia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Blepharitis
Eye Redness
Dry Eye Syndrome
Eye Health
Q: What is Blepharitis?

A: Blepharitis occurs when having bacteria and oily flakes at the base of your eyelashes. It is a chronic inflammation that makes your eyelids red (tearing eyes), swelling or burning. Blepharitis is very common, especially among people who have oily skin, dandruff or dry eyes.

 
Q: What causes Blepharitis?

A:

  • Sebum blockage, associated with dandruffs, crusts, etc.

  • Poor eyelid hygiene

  • Allergy reaction (e.g. to drug or make-up)

  • Bacterial infection 

  • Acne rosacea

Q: What are the symptoms of Blepharitis?

A:

  • Red, tearing eyes

  • Swollen eyelids

  • Crusty lids / scales on lashes

  • Chronic eye irritation / itchiness

  • Burning sensation

  • Loss of lashes

  • Associated with stye and chalazion formation

Q: How to treat and prevent Blepharitis?

A: To prevent follicles infections induced by sebum blockage, we should clean our eyelids and eyelashes every day. The eyelid wipe is one of the convenient and effective methods for cleaning away any discharge, crusting or flaking skin from the lid margins and lash roots.

Q: What causes eye redness?

A: In general, it can be simply classified as Conjunctival Hyperemia and Subconjunctival Hemorrhage.

 

"Subconjunctival hemorrhage" occurs when a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye (conjunctiva). You may not even realize you have a subconjunctival hemorrhage until you look in the mirror and notice the white part of your eye is bright red. It can be induced by external impact, or high blood pressure as well as diabetic patients as their blood vessels are more vulnerable.

 

"Conjunctival hyperemia" is a medical condition which involves redness especially of the sclera and may primarily be due to the dilation of the blood vessels found in the eyes. It can be induced by many reasons such as wearing contact lenses, dry eyes, allergies or chronic conjunctivitis.

 
Q: How to prevent or stop the progression of eye redness?

A: 

  1. Moisturizing: Frequent blinking, applying preservative-free eye drops or artificial tears help us to stimulate the secretion of lacrimal glands.
     

  2. Maintaining a good eyelid hygiene: Use cotton pad or eyelid wipe for cleaning away any discharge, crusting or oil from the lid margins and lash roots.
     

  3. Taking breaks at regular intervals (e.g. 5mins per half hour): You may close your eyes, look at something far away or move your eyes for relaxing your muscles that can avoid fatigue as well.
     

  4. Eye drops containing vasoconstrictors or steroids: Its anti-inflammatory effect can alleviate the inflamed eyes and congestion problem.

 
Q: What is Dry Eye Syndrome (DES)?

A: Dry eye can occur when basal tear production decreases, tear evaporation increases, or tear composition is imbalanced. It can be induced by different lifestyles, such as long-term use of electronic devices, prolonged exposures in a dry or windy environment, extended wearing of contact lenses and medication intake (including antihistamines and contraceptives).

Q: What are the symptoms of DES?

A:

  • Ocular dryness

  • Foreign-body sensation

  • Fluctuating or blurry vision

  • Excessive tearing or secretion 

  • Eye stinging, burning, and redness

  • Severe cases can cause corneal damage, affecting vision

Q: How to treat and prevent DES?

A:

  • Artificial tear or eye lubricants. The primary approaches used to manage and treat mild dry eyes. Preservative-free artificial tear solutions or eye lubricants are recommended because they contain fewer additives, which can further irritate the eyes.

  • Warm Compresses. A study from The Oxford University found that warming the lids can significantly increase meibomian lipid production, and result to relief the dry eye.

  • Lid Massage. It can dramatically improve symptoms by helping re-establish tear film stability. The technique: Extend finger and apply light pressure. Roll the finger upward on the lower lid two times while in upgaze, then roll the finger downward on the upper lid two times while in downgaze.

Q: What is the role for dietary advice?

A: The imbalance between free radical production and antioxidants will eventually cause inflammation. Without a doubt, oxidative stress is considered to be one of the principle mechanisms for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Nutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C, E and omega-3 fatty acids are useful in the prevention in those age-related disease, but it is unfortunate that those ingredients cannot be produced by our own body and can only be absorbed by dietary intake. So that eye supplements are essential if we are unable to acquire the sufficient level.

 
Q: What is AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2)?

A: The original AREDS study investigated the effect of use of a daily multivitamin supplement on the development and progression of AMD in a population of approximately 3,600 participants, ages 55 to 80. While AREDS2 was designed to investigate the effect of modifications of the original AREDS supplement formula on the development and progression of AMD so as to provide a better reference for those eye supplements designed for AMD.

Q: What is AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2)?

A: The original AREDS study investigated the effect of use of a daily multivitamin supplement on the development and progression of AMD in a population of approximately 3,600 participants, ages 55 to 80. While AREDS2 was designed to investigate the effect of modifications of the original AREDS supplement formula on the development and progression of AMD so as to provide a better reference for those eye supplements designed for AMD.

Q: How to maintain our eye health?

A:

  • Maintain a balanced diet in order to improve the body and eye health 

  • Eat more dark green leafy vegetables and fish

  • Wear sunglasses to reduce ultraviolet exposure 

  • Choose a suitable dietary supplement for your eye health

Q: What is glaucoma?

A: Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes permanent damage to retina and optic nerve of the posterior chamber due to elevated intraocular pressure. The patient's field of vision will gradually decline from normal to only the central part. If appropriate treatment is not carried out at the early stage, patients may become permanently blind. As the symptoms of an early stage are not obvious, glaucoma is known as "the thief of eyesight". Glaucoma is the top cause of blindness in Hong Kong (23%). The Hospital Authority estimated that 3 out of 100 people who are over the age of 40 have glaucoma.

 
Q: What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

A: 

  • Open-angle glaucoma generally deteriorates slowly, patients do not feel pain at the early stage, and there is almost no symptoms at all. As the condition worsened, patients begin to notice a narrowing of the field of vision. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.
     

  • Closed-angle glaucoma is mostly acute and therefore develops rapidly. This is due to the obstruction of the drainage channel of the aqueous humor, and the accumulation of fluid causes a sudden increase in intraocular pressure. This situation requires immediate treatment, otherwise it may result in permanent blindness in just hours or days after onset.


The symptoms of acute closed-angle glaucoma are as follows:
- Blurred vision
- Redness and pain in the eyes
- Headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seeing rainbow glow around the lights

Q: How to diagnose glaucoma?

A: The best way to diagnose glaucoma is to have regular eye examinations. General clinical diagnostic methods include:
 

  • Enlarge the pupil with eye drops and then use an ophthalmoscope to check the optic nerve through the pupil.

  • Use a tonometer to measure if the intraocular pressure is too high.

  • Perform a visual field test to check if the patient's field of vision and peripheral vision have narrowed.

  • Perform a gonioscopy to check if the anterior chamber angle between the iris and the cornea is normal.

Q: How to treat glaucoma?

A: Until now, glaucoma is incurable. However, as long as the diagnosis is made early and appropriate treatment is carried out, it can prevent or slow down further damage of eyesight. The most effective way to manage glaucoma is to control the intraocular pressure to an appropriate level to avoid the worsening of the condition. The options include the following:


1) Medication: Eye drops are the most commonly used method and patients must apply on time. Commonly used glaucoma eye drops are:

  • Beta-blockers have been used for many years to slow down the production of aqueous humor and thus reduce intraocular pressure. Side effects include slowing down the heartbeat, lowering blood pressure, or difficulty breathing.

  • Prostaglandin analogues are newly developed medications for the treatment of glaucoma, they are effective in lowering intraocular pressure by facilitating the aqueous humor outflow. The new generation of prostaglandins are available in preservative-free monodoses and can be stored at room temperature.

  • Other types of glaucoma eye drops include “α-receptor agonists” and “carbonic anhydrase inhibitors”, etc, which can also control intraocular pressure, but they are not as effective as prostaglandin analogues.


2) Laser treatment: Laser surgery is commonly used to treat acute closed-angle glaucoma.


3) Surgical treatment: Used when medication and laser surgery cannot control the condition of glaucoma. Surgery accelerates the discharge of aqueous humor or reduces the production of aqueous humor to lower intraocular pressure.
 

 

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