The eyes are highly specialized and sensitive organs that require constant care and maintenance. Even though regularly scheduled comprehensive eye examinations are vital for catching potentially serious conditions early on, there are also a number of relatively minor concerns that trouble millions of people every day. Symptoms that manifest suddenly, such as new vision changes, pain in the eye, or increased drainage, may be signs of serious conditions and require prompt evaluation by one of our eye care specialists, but many other minor complaints can often be relieved safely and effectively at home. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about minor eye concerns.
What should I do if I get an eyelash stuck in my eye?
This extremely common problem is almost always easily remedied. Simply blinking repeatedly is usually sufficient to allow the eyes’ naturally produced tears to dislodge an eyelash that has superficially adhered to the eye. For more stubborn lashes, flushing the eye with sterile saline solution or using a clean cotton swab to gently wipe the surface of the eye can successfully remove the lash. If you are unable to relieve the irritant at home, however, it is best to come into the office for an examination, even though it may seem like only a relatively minor concern.
What exactly is a stye and how can I get rid of it?
When an eyelash follicle becomes infected it can form a stye: a red, sore lump that looks similar to a pimple near the edge of the eyelid. Often this can be the result of wearing contact lenses for longer than is recommended (particularly disposable lenses) or of simply accidentally touching the eye with dirty fingers. A stye can make the eyelid tender and painful and may irritate the entire area, making it red and itchy. It is very important to avoid “popping” a stye, as this may cause the infection to spread into the eye itself, potentially resulting in permanent vision loss. Instead, applying a warm compress a few times a day will help unclog the infected oil gland and allow for natural drainage. If the stye does not improve, antibiotic ointment, a steroid injection, or (in very rare cases) surgery may be required in order to alleviate the concern.
Working on the computer makes my eyes hurt. What can I do?
Tiny muscles in the eye bend and flex the lens, subtly changing its shape so that the eyes can change focus as needed. These muscles, just like any other muscles in the body, can become strained and tired particularly after prolonged periods of intense focus. Over time, this common form of eye strain, called computer vision syndrome, can lead to dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches. Take regular breaks by following the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Eye strain is normal and does not typically require medical attention, but frequent episodes may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and should be checked by an eye doctor.
How often should I get a comprehensive eye exam?
We recommend that you have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years, depending on your age, risk factors and whether you currently wear corrective lenses. Children need regular eye exams to detect vision problems that may interfere with learning, and should have their first eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months. Adults, especially those over 40, should have yearly comprehensive eye exams in order to help prevent age-related eye conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
Your health and vision are important to us, and so, for a limited time, our on-site consultative optometrist Dr. Marc Lay will be offering basic eye exams starting at $35. While not as all-encompassing as a full, comprehensive eye examination, this can be an excellent first step to catching many concerns as early as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your vision, or if you would like to schedule an eye exam with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today to make an appointment.