The eye consists of an eyelid, eyelashes, muscles, nerves, the eyeball, cornea, sclera, conjunctiva, iris, pupil, lens and retina–all subject to disorders and diseases. Symptoms range from itching and irritation to partial or complete blindness. Primary eye disorders include visual abnormalities such as crossed eyes, near-sighted vision and color blindness. Secondary eye disorders, such as diabetic retinopathy, occur because of an underlying systemic disease.
Eye allergies are a response to the body’s immune system that interprets a foreign substance as harmful. The University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center reports that there are different types of eye allergies such as atopic allergies that include recurring seasonal and hayfever conjunctivitis. Allergic reactions from medication such as penicillin, sulfacetamide and anesthetics include intense itching and swelling of the conjunctiva. Eye allergies related to contact lens wear include symptoms of itching, redness, mucous discharge and eye swelling. Treatment of eye allergies depends on the cause and may include cool compresses and medications to control the histamine reaction.
All About Vision reports that eye twitching is a common and mostly benign (not serious) condition. Causes of eye twitching include stress, fatigue, caffeine, dry eyes, allergies and eyestrain. Treatment requires determining the cause of the twitching. For stress-related eye twitches, identify and deal with the stress factor to reduce the amount of twitching. For fatigue, getting enough sleep can help. Reduce the amount of caffeine intake if eye twitching is the result of too much stimulant from caffeine. Medications are available for treating dry eyes and allergies. Eyestrain may require adjusting your computer use or getting new glasses/contacts. For eye twitches that do not go away with conservative measures, Botox injections are an option.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a progressive genetic eye disorder affecting the retina. Damage to the retina occurs in the cells controlling night vision and leaves dark lines in the retina, as reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Advanced signs of retinitis pigmentosa include the loss of peripheral vision and partial blindness. Tests to evaluate the presence of retinitis pigmentosa include fluorescein angiography (an eye exam using a special dye and camera) to observe the retinal blood flow, pupil responses, visual field to determine any blind spots and a slit lamp examination to evaluate the front of the eye. Complications associated with retinitis pigmentosa include early-onset cataracts.
About this Author
Norene Anderson is a registered nurse with intensive care experience and as supervisor of a nurse audit department for four years. Her expertise encompasses a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. She received her associate’s degree in nursing from Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo. She has been a freelance writer since 2003 with more than 7,000 pages of Web content published.