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3 Often-overlooked Conditions That May Warrant a Visit to Your Optometrist

Someone getting an eye exam

Your optometrist is a vision specialist who may prescribe correction lenses as well as diagnose and treat conditions affecting the eyes and vision. You should recognize the importance of having routine eye exams by an optometrist. He or she may also detect issues early on and treat them before they become serious. The following are three conditions your optometrist may diagnose and treat.‚Äč

1. Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is another term for eye strain that is caused by frequent use of the computer or any digital device. If you view a computer or tablet screen for a long period of time on a regular basis, you may be at risk. Focusing on a computer screen causes your eyes to work harder, sometimes causing eyestrain, headaches, or even vision problems.

If you believe you may be affected, it is important to recognize the symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Some of the common tell-tale signs include tired and dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.

Your eye doctor will take a history of your eye health and computer viewing habits. They will note how your eyes focus and perform a vision test. If necessary, your optometrist may also prescribe corrective eyeglasses that you should wear while you do computer work.

Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the effects of computer vision syndrome. For one thing, be sure to view your digital screen or monitor in a well-lit room. Avoid glare on your monitor by keeping blinds and drapes closed so that sunlight does not reflect on your screen. Distance yourself from the screen so that your eyes will not become strained, and take a break every 20 minutes or so when using your device.

2. Posterior Vitreous Detachment

The vitreous is a gel-like substance that adheres to the retina of your eye. This gel helps the eye retain its round form. As a person ages, it is not uncommon for the vitreous to detach or shift from the retina.

Many individuals are unaware they have a vitreous detachment, as it generally does not cause serious symptoms or seriously affect vision. However, this condition may cause a few troublesome symptoms.

At the onset of a posterior vitreous detachment, the individual may notice a flash of light from the corner of the affected eye, which may last for several seconds. Shortly after that, the vitreous detachment may cause eye floaters, which are simply threadlike spots in the field of vision.

While floaters can be annoying, they are typically harmless. You can detect a vitreous detachment through a digital eye exam. This is performed with the use of digital equipment which takes a picture, or footprint, of the entire structure of the eye. Under normal circumstances, a posterior vitreous detachment will not require any special treatment, although you should still have routine eye exams.

In some cases, a vitreous detachment may tug so hard on the retina, that a tear may occur. The optometrist will exam the results to look for such a retinal tear or hole. If noted, the tear should be surgically repaired at once to prevent permanent vision loss.

3. Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is another term for an eye allergy. If you are affected by allergies of the eyes, you may experience extreme eye-watering, as well as dry and itchy eyes. Your eyes may look red or bloodshot as well. Eye allergies often occur in conjunction with nasal allergies.

When you suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, you need to avoid the triggers. For instance, if pollen or ragweed trigger your symptoms, limit your time outdoors. If dust or pet dander triggers your eye allergy symptoms, invest in an air purifier or ionizer. Vacuum carpeting frequently and keep your home as dust free as possible.

When over-the-counter eye drops do not provide relief, your optometrist may prescribe antihistamine eye drops or artificial tears.

If you believe you have any of the above mentioned eye-related conditions, see your optometrist. The eye doctor can prescribe a treatment plan that will work for you.