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Eye Health - Eye Diseases, Eye Infections, Common Eye Problems and Their Cures

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					         Your Complete Eye Health
    A Twelve Part Series on Eye Health, Eye Care, and Common Eye
                               Diseases

         Brought to You by: www.IndividualVisionInsurance.org



   1) Statistics on the State of Eye Health in America

   2) Regular Eye Exams – What are They, and How Much Do They Cost?

   3) Why Should You Get Routine Eye Exams?

   4) Common Eye Problems

   5) Eye Infections – Causes, Cures and Symptoms

   6) Eye Strain – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   7) Astigmatism - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   8) Glaucoma - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   9) Keratoconus - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   10)      Presbyopia - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   11)      Pterygium - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   12)      LASIK Surgery – What is it, and How Much Does LASIK

      Surgery Cost?




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  1. Statistics on the State of Eye Health in America

   There is no doubt whatsoever that across the world, vision health is becoming poorer each

   passing year. This is more so in America: in a country battling an obesity epidemic, how

   could eye health be any better? Compound our poor health in general with increased use of

   televisions, computers, and other 'screen based devices', and you can see why our vision

   health is going southwards.




   As of now, there are over 2.5 million visually impaired people in the US - that is, those that

   have very limited vision (if at all). This number does not include 1 million blind. That more

   than 3/4th or nearly 75% of people between 25-64 require some kind of vision correction

   equipment (read: glasses, lenses) is a testimonial of the declining state of our nation's vision

   health.




   Some even more troubling facts: one in four school going children have undiagnosed vision

   problems. It is also estimated that vision problems cost the American economy upwards of

   $50 billion every year.




   Keeping all these statistics in mind, it seems only natural that most people list vision care

   plans as their most desired insurance benefits, besides a general health plan. Insurance

   companies too have risen to meet this demand. Today, getting an individual vision insurance

   plan is quite affordable, costing only a few dollars each month. Group vision insurance plans




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   tend to be even cheaper, and more and more employers are offering this benefit to their

   employees.




   An individual vision insurance plan basically provides cover for most vision related

   problems. These can range from regular eye exams and doctor visits, to partial payment for

   corrective glasses and contact lenses. Some policies even provide coverage for surgical

   procedures such as LASIK.




   The cost of visiting an eye doctor, or getting a pair of glasses made can be quite high, as

   anybody with vision problems will testify. A single pair of glasses can run into hundreds of

   dollars. Taking care of your vision can cost upwards of several thousand dollars, depending

   on the severity of your vision problems. It makes quite sense then to invest in an individual

   vision insurance plan that will cover a major chunk of these expenses.




   In most cases, a vision insurance plan can be added on top of your existing medical plan for

   only a few dollars more each month. Families can also opt for a group plan that will decrease

   the monthly cost even further.




   A vision insurance plan is a great investment for the future, whether you are single or have a

   family. Vision problems will only compound in the future as eye health only deteriorates

   with age. A solid individual vision insurance plan will cover most expenses related to keeping

   your eyes healthy, and some procedures, such as regular eye exams, may also be helpful in

   detecting symptoms of other serious diseases like diabetes.
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   2. Regular Eye Exams – What are They, and How

   Much Do They Cost?

   Even if you've never had an eye exam (and if you haven't, you definitely should rush to your

   nearest ophthalmologist), you probably know some of the procedures - reading a chart of

   increasingly smaller alphabets kept at a distance, the eye doctor plugging in different

   powered lenses into a large, menacing looking apparatus. As a child, an eye exam filled me

   with a particular sense of dread and I don't think I've ever been over that.




   So what exactly is an eye exam?




   An eye exam is essentially a series of tests performed by an ophthalmologist, designed to

   ascertain a patient's ocular health status. These tests may range from determining the

   strength and health of eye sight (i.e. whether you can see clearly without needing glasses),

   determining the power of your eyes (if you need glasses), testing for any common eye

   diseases, and checking for conditions such as color blindness, irregular curvature of the lens,

   etc.




   An eye exam should be performed only by a trained ophthalmologist. An optometrist may

   also conduct an eye exam, but that would be limited to determining the power of your eye.




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   Regular eye exams are recommended by all doctors as most eye diseases are asymptomatic.

   Further, many serious illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. may manifest themselves

   as ocular defects. Regular eye exams, thus, may help in diagnosing other serious diseases

   early, paving the path for easier treatment.




   An eye exam typically begins with an examination of the external features of the eyes, such

   as the eyelids, the cornea, sclera (the white part of the eye), etc. After that, the examination

   moves into a visual acuity test (i.e. a test of the eye's power and ability to focus on near and

   far objects - the test you are probably most familiar with).




   The next test is a Pupil function test to determine the health of the pupil and detect any

   damage (physical, neurological etc.). After this, an eye exam may include a test of ocular

   motility (i.e. testing the eye's ability to follow quickly moving objects, usually carried out

   when patients complain of double vision), and a test of the visual field. There may be several

   other tests depending on your own ocular health.




   Eye exam costs may differ from state to state and city to city. In Typically, an eye exam may

   cost anything from $50 to $300 depending on the range of tests done. Costs may be even

   higher if a patient is found to be suffering from any serious ocular condition that requires

   extensive testing.




   Many people tend to ignore regular eye tests, despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle and

   getting regular complete body check-ups. As I've said before in this article, eye exams can
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   often reveal the existence of far more serious medical conditions, so it is imperative for the

   sake of your eyes as well as your body to get undergo regular eye exams.




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   3. Why Should You Get Routine Eye Exams?

   Routine eye exams are often ignored, yet a very fundamental feature of a thorough, holistic

   health program. While many people get complete body checkups regularly, few visit an eye

   doctor for an eye exam as often. The end result is that vision problems get neglected and

   develop into far more serious conditions than they should be. It is estimated that vision

   related problems cost America upwards of $51Bn every year. A lot of these problems can be

   avoided through early detection, saving billions of dollars annually.




   A routine eye exam can have several components. One kind of eye exam that is designed

   largely to detect vision problems like weak eyesight (nearsightedness or farsightedness) is

   carried out by an optometrist. An optometrist is not an actual doctor and can only detect

   above mentioned eye problems and write prescriptions for the same (that is, prescriptions

   for corrective glasses, lenses, etc.). An eye exam conducted by an optometrist would be quite

   cheap. Major retail stores like Wal-Mart offer such eye tests within the store itself, and you

   can simply walk in without an appointment to get your eyes checked. More often than not,

   you can even order corrective glasses and lenses from the optometrist himself.




   A more thorough eye exam that would not only measure your eyesight but also provide

   insights into any other vision problems you may have would be carried out by a trained eye

   doctor (called an 'ophthalmologist'). These exams are far more thorough and are essential

   for maintaining healthy eyes. An ophthalmologist would be able to detect glaucoma,

   presbyopia, astigmatism, Dry Eye Syndrome, etc. and provide medication for the same.

   Many eye related problems such as blurry vision, seeing spots before the eyes, etc. may be

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   early symptoms of far more serious diseases like diabetes, strokes, etc. Regular eye exams

   would make early detection of these diseases possible.




   Visiting an eye doctor can be quite expensive, which is perhaps one reason why many people

   tend to ignore their eye health. Further, most health insurance plans do not have adequate

   coverage for regular eye exams and other vision related problems, further deterring people.

   Considering the importance of routine eye exams in maintaining eye health, it is

   recommended that you obtain a vision insurance plan in addition to your health plan that

   would provide coverage for any vision related problems. Such a vision insurance plan won't

   set you back by a few dollars a month, but will end up saving you hundreds of dollars over

   time.




   Routine eye exams, conducted preferably by an ophthalmologist than an optometrist, are

   essential components of any comprehensive health plan. No matter what your age is, visiting

   the eye doctor regularly should be given top priority. Older people who tend to suffer from

   more eye problems than their younger counterparts should make a particular effort to get

   routine check-ups done. With the increasing use of computers, instances of vision related

   problems are growing, even among young children. This only goes to show that no matter

   your age, you should get a complete eye exam done every 4-6 months.




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   4. Common Eye Problems

   Your eyes are one of the most delicate organs in the body, as well as the most precious of our

   senses. It is hard to imagine any human existence without the gift of sight. It is this gift that

   has guided our evolution and advancement, both as species and as civilizations. Recollect

   any of your fondest memories - chances are, they had largely to do with your sense of sight.

   Whether it is captivating scenery, a beautiful face, or a breathtaking work of art - all would

   be impossible without the gift of sight made possible through the eyes.




   Because the eyes are so delicate, they often tend to get inflicted with different problems and

   diseases. Common eye problems can range from poor eyesight to glaucoma, twitching,

   swollen eyes, etc. Let's take a deeper look at some common eye problems:




   1. Twitching, Itching


   Twitching eyes are very common and almost everybody has been afflicted with this eye

   problem at one point of time or the other. Common causes of eye twitching are excessive

   caffeine consumption, stress, an anxiety attack, or fatigue.




   Itching of the eyes usually occurs due to the presence of some irritant in the eye. But it can

   also occur due to conditions such as Pink Eye Syndrome or Dry Eye Syndrome (in which the

   tear ducts fail to keep the eyes lubricated). Allergies can also cause eye itching.




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   2. Spots and Blurry Vision


   If you see spots before your eyes, it may be the precursor or early symptom of some serious

   medical conditions such as diabetes or even a stroke. Of course, many a times, this is caused

   due to fatigue and stress alone, but if this condition keeps on reoccurring, you should seek

   medical attention.




   Blurry vision is usually caused due to vision problems - nearsightedness or farsightedness. It

   can also be caused due to migraines or conditions like glaucoma. Blurry vision can typically

   be corrected by using appropriate lenses/glasses. If it is caused due to migraines, glaucoma

   or Dry Eye Syndrome, then you will need to take medication for these conditions.




   3. Age Related Eye Problems


   The eyes function continuously throughout all our waking hours for much of our lives. With

   age, the muscles that control the eyes become weak, leading to several age related eye

   problems. These may range from glaucoma, cataracts, and presbyopia. Most of these

   conditions can be treated nowadays.




   4. Other Common Eye Problems


   There are several other common eye problems, ranging from non-threatening and easily

   curable to those that can cost you your eyesight. Color blindness, for example, is very

   common vision problem that is non-threatening. A color blind person is unable to




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   differentiate between primary colors. At most, color blindness may exclude a sufferer from a

   few activities such as driving, etc.




   Ophthalmology - the field of medicine associated with treating eye problems - has advanced

   tremendously over the past few decades. Today there are cures for all major eye problems,

   and scientists have even been working on a cure for blindness.




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   5. Eye Infections – Causes, Cures and Symptoms

   An eye disease caused by pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes is

   called an eye infection. Eye infections can range from the common conjunctivitis to rare

   allergies. Eye infections can vary in the degree of severity, but in most cases, they are easy to

   cure.




   Eye infections are usually transferable from one person to the other. They can strike anyone

   regardless of their ocular health, though they tend to be more common among those who

   wear contact lenses. This is largely due to infections in the contact lens itself.




   An eye infection may be caused either due to direct contact with pathogens through eye

   wear, eye lids, etc., or through remote contact through sinuses. Infections can be caused

   through infected eye wear, eye surgery, injuries or trauma, vitamin or mineral deficiencies,

   or immune deficiencies as well.




   Symptoms for various infections differ. The most common type of infection - that is,

   bacterial conjunctivitis - results in red, swollen and itchy eyes. There is frequent discharge of

   liquid and constant irritation. The eyes may also appear swollen with excessive tearing.




   Other infections, such as blepharitis typically has similar symptoms. The eyes turn red, there

   is excessive tearing, and constant discomfort. Blepharitis also involve light and glare

   sensitivity and a burning sensation. If your eyes turn excessively red or are painful, it is best
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   advised to consult an ophthalmologist immediately for proper diagnosis, especially since

   most eye infections are similar in immediately discernible symptoms.




   Eye infections can strike anyone but tend to be more common in children or those with poor

   hygiene or health. If you've undergone any eye surgery recently, chances of an infection

   increase manifold. Trauma or injury can also lead to an eye infection, so proper care is a

   must. Further, since most infections are highly contagious, you should avoid contact with

   any patient.




   An eye infection can occur through contact with an infected surface, whether it is a hand or a

   pair of glasses/contact lenses. You should take care to always wash your hands before

   touching your eyes. You should also never share eye make-up, glasses or contact lenses with

   anyone, let alone an infected person. You should also avoid using towels, handkerchiefs, etc.

   used by an infected person.




   Further preventive measures include wearing eye protection whenever you are out in the

   sun, not sharing any eyewear cleaning solutions, and avoiding exposure to contaminated or

   dirty water.




   Treatment is infection dependent and correct diagnosis is the first step. Some infections

   such as conjunctivitis are very contagious and require the patient to remain in isolation.


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   Most treatment courses involve an antibiotic eye-drop or ointment along with antibacterial

   medication ingested orally. Most doctors will also advise warm compresses applied directly

   to the eyes frequently, which helps remove any debris from the eyes and reducing bacteria.




   Eye infections are easily curable in most cases, though the biggest challenge is containing

   their spread as they are highly contagious. If you do get affected, it is best advised to stay in

   isolation for a few days until the symptoms reduce.




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   6. Eye Strain – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   Eye strain is one of the most common eye related complaints that people have. It may occur

   due to a number of reasons and is very easy to cure in most cases. Medically, it is called

   asthenopia. With the increasing use of computers in homes and workplaces, instances of eye

   strain have risen sharply.




   Eye strain or astheopia is a symptom rather than an eye disease. It usually occurs when eyes

   get tired and fatigued due to intensive use. It manifests itself as discomfort in looking at

   things. Most people have experienced eye strain in some form or the other. It is not a serious

   condition and can be treated through rest alone. However, if eye strain occurs frequently, it

   may be taken as a sign of other more serious eye diseases.




   Symptoms of Eye Strain




   The common symptoms of eye strain are easy to identify. They include discomfort in the

   eyes, dryness or conversely, mild tears, soreness, and an inability to concentrate on things.

   Other symptoms include pain at the back of the neck and temples, headaches, and blurred,

   double vision.




   There are no medical tests to determine the severity or degree of eye strain; it is subjective,

   varying from patient to patient. It is also lifestyle dependent - those used to spending long


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   hours working before computer screens or reading will suffer less from eye strain than

   others.




   If eye strain does occur frequently, then it is advised that you consult your ophthalmologist

   as it can be a symptom of an underlying eye disease.




   Causes of Eye Strain




   Eye strain is typically caused by intensive use of the eyes for a long period of time. Visually

   intensive tasks such as reading (especially if the print is small), watching television, working

   with computers, playing video games or driving are common causes of eye strain. Working

   in dim light can also cause tightening of the muscles in the face around the eyes, leading to

   eye strain.




   In some cases, eye strain may be a symptom of underlying ocular conditions such as

   presbyopia, nearsightedness or farsightedness. Strain in those already suffering from these

   conditions can be an indicator of the need for higher power corrective optical instruments

   (glasses or lenses).




   Treatments for Eye Strain




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   Treating most forms of eye strain is as simple as taking a rest for a few hours. Relaxing the

   eyes naturally relieves them of any built up stress and fatigue. Certain exercises such as

   closing the eyes for a few minutes, massaging the temples, etc. can also provide temporary

   relief. If you are going to spend long hours before a computer or on other visually intensive

   tasks, it is recommended that you take periodic breaks.




   You can also reduce the intensity or frequency of eye strain by working in more suitable

   conditions. If using computers, try using a LCD or TFT monitor instead of a CRT one. Make

   sure that you work in well-lit conditions and always maintain a healthy distance between

   yourself and a computer or television screen. Take a break every hour and stretch your arms,

   back and shoulders to relieve your body of built up stress.




   If eye strain leads to excessive dryness of the eyes, you can get an over-the-counter eye drop

   for relief. In almost all cases, eye strain is not serious and can be easily cured through rest,

   but if it persists for a long time, it may be wise to consult an ophthalmologist.




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   7. Astigmatism – Causes, Symptoms and

   Treatments

   Astigmatism is a refractive eye disorder which causes blurred vision. It is a fairly common

   eye problem can be corrected quite easily by using lenses or glasses or getting surgery.

   Normally, a person’s cornea is perfectly spherical in shape. When light enters the cornea, it

   is refracted equally in all directions and a focused image is formed on the retina. But when a

   person suffers from astigmatism, the shape of the cornea is distorted and so, a sharp focused

   image cannot be formed. This results in hazy and blurred vision.




   Causes of Astigmatism




   In majority of cases, this disorder is hereditary i.e. it is passed on from one generation to the

   other. Besides that, it is also common in people who spend a lot of time working in the front

   of the computer or who sue their eyes for activities like embroidery which require constant

   precision. Additionally, incorrect posture can also result in increased pressure on the cornea,

   which would eventually distort its curvature.




   Symptoms of Astigmatism




   So, how do you know if you are actually suffering from this eye disorder? The most obvious

   symptom is obviously blurred and hazy vision. However, blurred vision is a common
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   symptom for many other eye disorders. But if you are indeed suffering from astigmatism, the

   objects will remain blurred even when viewed from very close distances.




   Other symptoms of astigmatism include constant headache, fatigue, dizziness, eye strain and

   the inability to concentrate on a particular object. If you are experiencing any of these

   symptoms, you must visit your ophthalmologist who will be able to diagnose the exact cause

   of these symptoms after running a few tests.




   Treatment of Astigmatism




   The treatment for this eye disorder depends on just how bad it is. In most cases, the degree

   of astigmatism is quite mild and can be treated easily with corrective lenses. There are

   specific kinds of lenses for treating astigmatism called toric lenses. Your optometrist will

   decide the ideal kind of toric lenses for you after running some basic tests.




   In case of high degrees of astigmatism, you can also consider refractive surgery. This surgery

   corrects the curvature and shape or your cornea making as perfectly spherical. Once this is

   achieved, the images formed will be sharp and focused as light rays will refract properly

   inside the eye.




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   As technology has advanced, various other forms of surgeries and corrective measures have

   emerged. In case you are suffering from astigmatism or are experiencing any of its

   symptoms, you should definitely visit your optometrist and discuss the issue with him.




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   8. Glaucoma – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

   Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases, striking 1 in 200 people below 50. It is

   much more common among the elderly - almost 10% of all people above 80 suffer from

   glaucoma. Glaucoma is a very dangerous disease as it can lead to loss of eye sight if left

   untreated. Further, detection of this eye disease is quite difficult as the symptoms manifest

   themselves only in more advanced stages.




   In glaucoma, the optic nerve gets damaged, typically due to increased pressure of aqueous

   humor, the fluid present in the eye. Damage to the optic nerve may be minor, but over time,

   it may lead to complete blindness.




   Symptoms of Glaucoma




   Glaucoma can be effectively classified into two types: Open-Angle, and Closed-Angle.




   The former is more common, and also harder to detect. In open-angle glaucoma, the patient

   suffers gradual loss of eyesight leading to complete blindness if left untreated. The field of

   vision gradually decreases and there are changes in the optic nerve. Because of the absence

   of perceptible changes in the early stages, it becomes difficult to detect. More than 90% of all

   glaucoma cases in the United States are open-angle, though this figure is much smaller in

   Asian and European countries.


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   Closed-angle glaucoma is rarer. Its symptoms are also much more acute, and include pain in

   the eyes, seeing spots, halos or lights, extremely red eyes, and nausea. Vision loss may be

   very sudden and extremely painful. Closed-angle glaucoma needs to be treated immediately

   as it can very quickly lead to complete blindness. It affects less than 10% of people in the

   United States.




   Causes of Glaucoma




   The primary cause of this eye disease, as outlined above, is increase in the pressure on the

   ocular nerve from the fluid present in the eyes (aqueous humor). This increase in the

   pressure itself is influenced by genetics. For instance, East Asians are more likely to suffer

   from closed-angle glaucoma than open-angle, whereas those with an African descent are

   thrice as likely to suffer from open-angle glaucoma than their Caucasian counterparts.




   Other causes of glaucoma are diabetes, variations in blood pressure, hypertension, and

   trauma. This eye disease is also related to age and is much more prevalent among the

   elderly. This is because of genetics, as well as increased health issues among the elderly such

   as hypertension, diabetes, etc.




   Cures of Glaucoma




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   There is no permanent cure for glaucoma as of now, and all the cures can only provide

   temporary relief. In early stages, glaucoma can be corrected by taking external medication

   such as eye drops. These eye drops help to reduce the pressure in the eyes.




   In later stages, surgery may be effective in providing temporary relief. Surgery may be

   carried out through conventional methods, or through laser. In most cases, such operations

   don't provide long lasting cures.




   Glaucoma is a difficult disease to cure because of its genetic origins. However, one can

   prevent its occurrence by taking good care of the health, especially against diseases like

   diabetes and hypertension which have a role to play in this eye disease.




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   9. Keratoconus – Causes, Symptoms and

   Treatments



   The word "Keratoconus" comes from the Greek 'kerato', which means horn or cornea, and

   'konos', which means cone. Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the cornea, which is

   naturally round in shape, degenerates and bulges into a pointed, cone shape. Because of this

   altered shape, the light entering the eye gets deflected, leading to blurred, distorted vision.




   Symptoms of Keratoconus




   In most cases, Keratoconus occurs gradually over time, usually occurring after mid-20s.

   Because of its slow development rate, detection of this eye disease becomes quite difficult. In

   this disease, the shape of the eye disintegrates from the natural round shape, which causes

   gradual loss of near field vision along with irregular astigmatism. Light sensitivity may also

   occur in many cases, though the most common symptom is nearsightedness and distorted

   vision.




   If you already use glasses, you may find your eye power changing rapidly - increasing or

   decreasing every time you visit the optometrist for a regular eye check-up. However, in most

   cases, these changes are quite subtle and an untrained ophthalmologist might not be able to

   detect the early symptoms of Keratoconus.

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   Causes of Keratoconus




   Earlier, it was thought that this eye disease occurs due to injuries or other external factors.

   However, newer research has shown that one of the primary causes of Keratoconus is an

   imbalance of enzymes within the cornea. Because of this imbalance, the cornea may get

   damaged from free radicals - a compound that is present in the air. This damage can cause

   the cornea to get distorted and bulge out, leading to the conical shape.




   Most cases of this eye disease are genetic in nature. If your family has a history of this

   disease, chances are, you may have it too. Other less prominent causes include overexposure

   to the sun, rubbing eyes excessively due to chronic eye irritation, or poorly fitted contact

   lenses.




   Treatment of Keratoconus




   Keratoconus can be difficult to treat, especially in more advanced stages. In early stages, it

   can be cured by wearing soft lenses. However, in more advanced stages, such measures are

   inadequate and a patient might be required to wear rigid gas permeable lenses (RGP lenses).

   Fitting these lenses can be quite difficult and cause a great deal of discomfort to the eyes.

   Many a times, eye care practitioners bypass this difficulty by "piggybacking" a RGP lens over




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   a soft contact lens placed over the eye. The RGP lens fits over the cornea and smoothens it

   out, erasing any problems created by the bulging shape.




   It is best to consult a trained eye doctor regarding treatment for Keratoconus. Depending on

   the extent of the disease, your ophthalmologist may prescribe different treatment measures,

   ranging from soft lenses to RGP and hybrid lenses. In almost all cases, Keratoconus is

   curable and your eyesight will not suffer in the long term.




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   10. Presbyopia – Causes, Symptoms and

   Treatments

   Presbyopia is one of the most common eye diseases. It usually occurs around middle age and

   is characterized by reduced or blurred vision. Colloquially, presbyopia is the loss of near

   vision and can be corrected by using optical instruments such as glasses and lenses. It is

   estimated that a billion people across the world suffer from this eye disease.




   Symptoms of Presbyopia




   Presbyopia is typically associated with blurry vision, especially when reading, working on

   computers, etc. People suffering from it usually have to hold reading objects at a distance to

   read them properly. If you find yourself reading a book by keeping it at an arm's length, you

   know that you should see an ophthalmologist for presbyopia treatment.




   Causes of Presbyopia




   Presbyopia is largely age related. Unlike nearsightedness or farsightedness, which are

   affected by genetic factors, presbyopia is caused by the gradual loss of flexibility of the eye

   lens. With age, the muscles controlling the eyes tighten up, losing their elasticity. This means

   that the eye lens has to try harder to focus on close objects. Also, the proteins that make up



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   the eye lens harden up with age, leading to loss of flexibility. All this contributes to

   presbyopia.




   Treatments and Cures of Presbyopia




   The most common and highly effective cure for presbyopia is the use of corrective optical

   instruments such as glasses and lenses. For patients suffering from presbyopia alone,

   reading glasses are an apt solution. These reading glasses can be purchased over the counter

   easily.




   Those suffering from nearsightedness as well as presbyopia, farsightedness, etc. can opt for

   bifocals or progressive addition lenses (PALs). Bi-focals are essentially glasses that have

   corrective lenses for both near and far vision. Progressive Addition Lenses are the same as

   bi-focals in function, but offer a more gradual transition between the near and far vision

   lenses. There is also no vision transition between the two on the surface of the lens.




   With age, the flexibility of your eye lens will further deteriorate, so you will need to

   periodically increase the power of your contact lenses/glasses. Periodic visits to the eye

   doctor or optometrist are advised to make sure that you are using the appropriate corrective

   devices.




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   Another option for presbyopia patients is to opt for surgery. LASIK is one of the most

   common options and is highly effective. It is also quite affordable and is non-invasive as

   well.




   Along with LASIK, there are several experimental treatments that haven't quite achieved the

   same success rate as LASIK. One experimental treatment, for example, includes injecting an

   elastic gel like substance that will replace the natural eye lens. However, since most such

   treatments are in the experimental stages, it is recommended that you opt for LASIK if you

   do plan on getting surgery done for this eye disease.




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   11. Pterygium – Causes, Symptoms and

   Treatments

   Pterygium, sometimes also called "Surfer's Eye", is benign growth of the conjunctiva. For

   those of you without MDs, conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the white part of the

   eye (i.e., the sclera) and forms the inner lining of the eyelids. Pterygium is common among

   those who spend a great deal of time in the sun without any protective gear (i.e. sunglasses).

   It typically develops from the side of the nose towards the opposite corner of the eye.




   Symptoms of Pterygium




   In early stages, this eye disease can lead to frequent irritation in the eyes, redness, soreness,

   and a constant feeling of a foreign body present in the eyes. In some cases, it may even cause

   bleeding of the eyes. In advanced stages, Pterygium can obscure vision and potentially lead

   to scarring of the cornea - a serious condition that can cause astigmatism and long term loss

   of vision.




   Pterygium is difficult to detect in the early stages because the symptoms are often low

   intensity and are overlooked by patients. Further, since this eye disease is found primarily

   among those who spend long hours outdoors, its early symptoms can be easily confused with

   a host of common eye problems, including simple infections or just simple eye strain. More




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   often than not, this disease is detected only much later when it is already in the advanced

   stages, increasing the chances of degeneration into more serious eye problems.




   Causes of Pterygium




   Pterygium is common among those who spend long hours in the sun without any protective

   gear (hence the colloquial name: surfer's eye). Thus, it is commonly associated with

   extended exposure to UV rays or excessive wind (which can lead to dryness and itching).

   Surfers, water-sports enthusiasts, and snow-boarders/skiers tend to suffer from this disease

   as they are often exposed to harmful UV radiation that is amplified and reflected by the

   water/snow surface.




   Prevention of Pterygium is as easy as wearing a pair of sunglasses when outside, and using

   artificial tear drops to keep the eyes well lubricated.




   Treatment of Pterygium




   In the early stages, this eye disease can be cured through administration of artificial eye

   drops alone. Preventive measures outlined above are usually very effective. A permanent

   cure without resorting to surgery in advanced stages, however, is unforthcoming. Even

   surgery requires extensive post-operation care, and the disease may manifest itself after a

   period of time.

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   As of now, a variety of treatments options are available to cure Pterygium, ranging from glue

   and suture application to irradiation and even membrane transplant. However, as

   mentioned above, the only fool-proof treatment method available to advanced stage patients

   is surgery, which itself may not be 100% effective.




   Pterygium is an eye disease that can be very easily avoided. Curing it is easy in early stages,

   but that may only provide symptomatic relief. It is best to wear protective eye gear and avoid

   the occurrence of this disease altogether.




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   12. LASIK Surgery – What is it, and How Much

   Does LASIK Surgery Cost?

   LASIK is one of the most popular surgical procedures used to correct refractive errors in the

   eye. It is used to treat ocular conditions such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. It is a

   non-invasive procedure that is carried out using a laser by a trained eye surgeon

   (ophthalmologist). Since it is non-invasive, it gives very quick results, is safer, and also leads

   to faster recovery among patients.




   LASIK is largely opted for by those suffering from common vision problems such as the ones

   mentioned above. It is typically recommended for patients with severe vision problems - that

   is, those who are compelled to wear high power glasses or lenses. After LASIK, most patients

   would not need to wear any eye gear, though patients with very high power might still need

   to wear glasses/lenses.




   Prior to a LASIK surgery, a patient is required to wear special soft contact lenses for a period

   of 2 to 4 weeks. After this, the ophthalmologist would examine the patient's corneas and

   map the curvature and surface contour. Before the surgery, the patient might be

   administered an antibiotic to reduce the chances of any infection.




   LASIK surgery is usually performed with the patient fully awake. An anesthetic eye drop is

   administered but the patient is typically fully mobile and cognizant of the operation. Since


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   LASIK is an outpatient procedure, the patient can be discharged almost immediately after

   the surgery.




   However, there can be several complications post LASIK if proper post-operative care

   instructions aren't followed. The patient is typically advised to sleep a couple of hours extra

   every day for a few weeks after the operation. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication

   is also prescribed for at least three weeks post-surgery. In many cases, the patient might also

   be required to wear special glasses to prevent itching/scratching of the eyes during sleep.

   Failure to follow these care instructions can lead to several complications. In fact, most cases

   of failure with respect to LASIK usually happen due to the patient's negligence post-

   operation.




   Common complications involving laser surgery are surgery induced dry eyes (hence most

   post-operative care procedures involve administration of tear drops for a period of 4 weeks),

   overcorrection or under correction, light sensitivity, double images, etc. Since the patient is

   advised not to venture out into the sun, it may also lead to Vitamin D deficiency, further

   intensified by light sensitivity post-operation.




   LASIK surgery has become the most popular refractive surgical procedure all across the

   world. In the US, patients report 92-98% success rate. One study put the satisfaction rate

   among patients at 95.4%.




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   LASIK surgery cost is another reason for its popularity. In some countries like India, LASIK

   surgery cost can be as low as $400-500. The cost is quite a bit more in the US - it can come

   down to anywhere from $1800-$3000. LASIK is recommended only for patients above 18

   years, though most doctors advise that younger patients should opt for LASIK only if their

   power has stabilized.




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